13th November 2017

Goodaye all, it has been a bugger of a week, so my apologies for my tardiness. Roadtraining on Monday with liquid fertilizer, that for the second container did not want to come out, so a long day from 6.45AM till just in time home, at 11.45 PM that night. Hooking up trailers in the dark after unloading and being hungry, as was not in my normal truck, so no tucker. Geez, getting a good feed, particularly outside of hours or when you are in a different spot, is getting harder.

A breakdown Tuesday evening, put me behind schedule and then chasing to keep things in line, meet timeslots in Brisbane Wednesday, a yard where you can get in, have to split to unload, then can’t turn without screwing the wheels off, so a few goes backing the b-double to get out, drive 2 kilometres to have to split trailers again to load, back to the yard, getting repairs, picking up a gearbox for one son, back to Dubbo, tyres and filter and an air leak to be fixed and then ran late, so a later timeslot to load that meant an even later get into bed, though did manage tea and finally a shower, but want to be in Melbourne to unload and reload Friday, or be stuck there for the week-end.

Going into Melbourne, rang Vicroads about a pothole I rang about 2 weeks ago, patched it seemed, but now worse that before, next complaint about another closed rest area, only an informal one true, but still one less space, then another call to Vicroads coming into Melbourne about the 5kilometre traffic que, in a line to unload, then just in time to load to be told it was stuffed up Friday and why am I there so late? Sorry mate, I have been trying since early this morning, then missing paperwork, leftover pizza, thanks Rick and into bed.

Got out of Melbourne in the early hours after my regulation break thinking traffic will be gone, to find bridge beams being delivered, needed a kip on the way, nearly home, a leaking tyre, rang to organise to find I am also due at youngest son’s formal for school, got there in time, next morning off to help another son move, just needed to go for another drive, home in time to jump in truck and go to work, then problems with a fuel card, that delayed me another hour and a half, meant another late night, and now here I am back in Brisbane, loading out tomorrow.

You have to love this job. There is always something and far too often, something out of the drivers control to delay us, yet the flexibility to deal with such things is often not only at our cost, lack of a shower, a feed or sleep time, yet everyone else still wants the freight delivered, timeslots met and if I don’t, then you get held over, lose wages and productivity. All we need is some flexibility, instead of a logbook that tells when I can and cannot drive, based on what, not its’ knowledge of the job or my needs and who will fine me for my lack of compliance?

Someone who gets paid overtime, who can do a double shift, who does not have to live by those rules, made by those who will never sit their bum in a truck to see the goods for people delivered. And now I have to get mine in one to get to the other side of town to go to bed to load in the morning. Gotta run, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


5th November 2017. Newcastle Transport Awareness Day.

Goodaye all. My humble apologies for missing last weeks instalment. I attended the Newcastle Transport Awareness Day, the 22nd, all previously held on the Newcastle foreshore till this year, but now at the Maitland Showground. They have raised very serious money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service over the years and have had a few new faces involved on the committee in the last few years. Unless you have been involved in setting up such an event, and even with a long history such as here, if you walk in to take over from those before you, it is a lot of work.

I had planned to attend the dinner on the Friday night and was asked to speak, but had to do another trip, so offered an apology and got out of Melbourne late Friday evening. There was a few in front of me when I arrived, so a few hours delay, but thanks to the boys at King of the Road Truckwash in Albury for a terrific job, considering it had rained every one of the five legs that week and also the previous week, so it was dirty.

I pulled up south of Gundagai to go to bed and found oil leaking out of the axle gasket. At 1AM, nothing to do but go to bed. I rang the workshop foreman in the morning and we arranged to get it sorted at the Sydney depot and while I fuelled and the gasket was replaced, I then touched up the trailer curtains with a felt pen. Got into Maitland and after some more tidying up, completed some pinstriping  and then went and had tea with Stephen from Whiteline TV who was also attending. Back to the truck, wiping down wheels etc till they turned the lights out and to bed in my usual abode, this week 7 nights in the TIV.

We went up to watch the convoy converge, I was loaded so did not want to drop the trailers and had banners to put up etc and on return Stephen did some filming of the convoy as it arrived at the showgrounds. Well done to all who put in thousands of hours in total to present their trucks in such a gleaming showcase, millions of dollars of new and old equipment, proudly displayed during their mostly, one day a week off.

I thank the organisers for the invite and was glad to attend, my third time over the years. The first time was the very first event with the original TIV trailer curtains and they had a hole in them from someone else’s failure to do the right thing. It became a dragged out row, but was eventually resolved and that curtain was patched and now resides at the Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.

I went with the specific aim of doing a seminar and showing our sharing rest areas video, but due to someone else booking the hall, could not do so. I was asked to help with the judging and then when that was done, we did the interviews and our bit for TRUCK THAT November, which should be out this week. There was a good crowd during the day, I gave away copies of Owner Driver and the Truckies Top Ten Tips children’s version, had many take photos and ask questions and thank Stephen for looking after the TIV and inquiries while I did the judging with others.

Such industry events are often our one chance to not only have the public see and hopefully appreciate our vehicles, but I still feel we often let them get away without having them educated about the other side of our industry to that which they are exposed in the media, generally all bad. The seminars were a chance and I again, wish it could have happened. Obviously the families of truckies do not need to be told, but when the only press we get is bad, we must take every opportunity to show our good side, the side that delivers the food, the clothes, the fuel and the life we lead in Australia.

How many of you have been in a truck for a trip? How many have spoken with a truckie and truly understand our issues? Not enough and unfortunately, getting the right people who will not only recognise the issues and perhaps, even do something to help us, is damn hard work. If you want to help, let me know. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


21st October 2017. A bit of my history.

I started work in transport with Tony Newton Transport when I left school at 15. Tony ran roadtrains from Brisbane to Mt Isa each week and I looked after the office, took bookings and loaded trucks. With Tony I drove my first car on the road, first semi and roadtrain and did some trips, including to Mt Isa to recover a trailer, bogged and dumped near Kynuna when the road was still dirt. I still recall having to ring Ma’s at Longreach to check to see if the road was open, before the truck left Brisbane each Friday night, sometimes riding home on my bicycle after 10 at night when the 2nd trailer was finally loaded.

Tony sold out to Frigmobile and he did arrange a job there for me as well. I again started in the office, doing manifesting, then went onto the dock loading trailers, then on the forklift in the coldstores and then onto rigid trucks doing deliveries etc. I did country runs to Kingaroy and other spots in my Commer 8 tonner with a Perkins engine. A few subbies let me drive their trucks including a then big truck, a G89 Volvo. Frigmobile had an old Atkinson, then Isuzus for local prime movers and mainly used subbies for linehaul. I remember an old Oshkosh and all manner of rigs

John from Trial Bay Haulage was a character, Sally Watkins with his black and gold Kenworth doing the roadtrains to Mt Isa and many others come to mind and Kelvin and Stanley Fuller, now a large concern in Brisbane, K and S Transport, ran a purple and white K100 which did the Brisbane to Sydney shuttle. Stories from drivers obviously helped fuel my passion for the road and some scared me even more!

I had a dispute over a truck and left in a huff, went to drive for Inghams chickens in their little Fiats, doing deliveries of fresh chickens to KFC stores far and wide, even overseas to Bribie Island on occasion and put on a bit of weight eating too much each day. Then I went to Luya Julius, where I started as a courier driver, then went into the container park, becoming supervisor for a number of years. I also did costing, fleet allocation a few times and did occasional trips, or week end runs to the rail or wharf.

Finemores then bought them out and the container park slowed, so I moved over to fuel tankers, running petrol and diesel from Ampol in Brisbane to Dubbo, 2 drivers sharing a truck and b-double set of tanks, based in Goondiwindi. We started with an F10 Volvo and tri/bogey 23m b-double, went to an FH 10 with 25m tri/tri  and then into Ford Louisvilles with Detroit Series 60 engines, which did very well for Finemores, being nearly the mainstay of the fleet till Ford stopped making trucks.

Then we started running all over the place, to Melbourne and Sydney and often, you did not know where you would be tomorrow, let alone next week. At one time I was inducted into 12 different fuel terminals in three states and that was a bit unusual, as even the AIP passport books we had to keep, simply did not have enough pages.

Toll then bought out Finemores and eventually after 29 years of continuous service, though with three companies, I left there, not having been able to find anyone in Toll who would help with my aim, to have a truck to promote the road transport industry and road safety. Had I not left, I doubt the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle would exist. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.



TRUCK That Australia 1

Goodaye all. Last Sunday night we launched TRUCK That Australia and whilst I have played with the link, I can’t sort it now and must away to work, so please go to Whiteline TV and view there.

The way we see the world and interact, is changing and how we get our news and get our information is too. It is our aim to offer a short regular update, on what is affecting us on the road, to seek comments and contributions to industry issues from those on the road and to help where we can to ensure those views and issues are acted upon, where possible. I have been trying for years to get roads fixed, car drivers educated and rest areas improved, to see what we do for the Australian public recognised and to see us given some respect by those we serve, be they a road authority or customer, but it is a big and probably lifelong challenge.

It has also been a horror week for crashes and none of us goes to work to be involved in such an event, but unfortunately, some are. Facebook covered some of these events and there are always different thoughts, some simply don’t want tragic photos and links listed, for reasons of privacy and some say, get over it, it is the news.

Of course if it is you or your family involved, then you don’t want it across the world and you would not welcome someone blaming your partner for such an incident, long before the truth is able to be confirmed. Those who will make such accusations, blame a driver or offer views would most likely scream blue murder if it was done to them and some may be educated views, some may be complete crap, but how do you or they know? From such deliberate and malicious comments, people and families who are already hurting and in shock and even those not so directly involved or afflicted, can be terribly punished and maligned, by those words and actions.

From my view, the worst part is the intent to destroy or damage people who these trolls, do not even know, but would not be happy if it was done to them. I still tell my children and grandchildren if they are squabbling and the comments get nasty, “What do you say?”, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and if only more agreed and lived by it.

Where does that leave us? Open to abuse and conviction on social media, by those who see themselves as better or simply, removed from the damage and harm they do, when you may have done nothing more wrong, than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are guilty or at fault, it will come out and those who are guilty surely deserve punishment under law. which except for road transport law, is to my understanding, to treat you as innocent until proven guilty.

The world is a scary place and the only certainty is change. I see a Mr Buffet in the USA is investing in a major truckstop chain and when asked, said he thinks there will still be truck drivers for awhile yet, so maybe many of us will be able to live out our current driving lives on the road and autonomous trucks may be a bit further away. One comment I did read from a driver was that if the majority of car/ truck fatals are the fault of the car driver, then make the cars autonomous and get rid of the idiots in them who try to kill us and leave the trucks alone.

The other side of that is if we cannot get roads fixed now, then where are the billions of dollars going to come from, to make our roads suitable for autonomous trucks? How will we as drivers get better and fairer laws to do our job safely? And with the carnage this week, what do you think will happen. Will we all simply be blitzed yet again, or will someone somewhere, actually look at the real problem instead of a blitz today and a band aid next week?

TRUCK That will not solve any of this, today or tomorrow, but it might help you stay in the loop a little bit more. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


8th October 2017 “TRUCK That”.

Goodaye all. Owner Driver magazine has got a very good responce to the Sharing Rest Areas video from their online portal, having put it up last week and most comments were favourable. Thanks to all who have shared it and the more the merrier. If all goes to plan we will launch “TRUCK That” this evening. Stephen from Whiteline Television, who is putting it together, has a few more tweaks to do and if he has the time this afternoon, will get it up.

Many drivers I speak with say they do not read the trucking press, as when they get out of the truck, they don’t want to have anything to do with trucks. We no longer have any real trucking radio shows, where in the states they have a 24 hour a day satellite network, but you need a suitable set and have to pay. So how do we get two important things done? One is to get news and issues out to drivers and the other, is once they are aware, to give them the chance to respond.

Now I have been arguing with the authorities for many years that if they want feedback, they must not only make us aware, but they must do so in a timely way. Many drivers still get their industry info from the trucking press and let’s face it, no one else really covers it nor has much interest. We used to have Big Wheels in the major newspapers that at least gave us some access to the normal person, but that has all but disappeared as well. Big Rigs magazine has started doing podcasts (and I have done a few with the aim to do so more regularly) but the idea of a video news program for the trucking industry on social media, could well go some way to achieving the above aims.

When industry issues, for example the “Personal Use” request for feedback come along, if the industry press is only given it a week or two before the deadline, by the time they get it to press, it could be all ready closed. A cynical person would say that is a deliberate way to reduce the number of responders and I have raised this with NTC and NHVR. If only a few respond, they do say, no one replied and so we will just do what we want.

Where do you get your industry news and information from? Is it always timely? Does it give you the chance to comment and does it offer you the ability to contribute and comment when things are planned for change? Please let me know.

Does that get us a better result and do those who have the power to make the laws, yet do not have to live by them on the road, let alone at all, really care about us? Too harsh or too true? So how do we get fair representation for such issues? Yes we can simply rely on those at the ATA or NATROAD or the TWU to represent us, but how many of those now live on the road and how hard will they fight for us? If you are not personally affected by a new law or a change to a law, will you even make an effort to see it fair, not likely.

What the industry really needs is less acceptance of what we are given and more input from those on the road to see better outcomes. How to make that happen, when many simply do not care anymore, is hard, but if we can harness the comments, participation and support of those who still do want to see things improve, then we have far more chance of both being listened to and of having those concerns acted on. Thank you to all of those who read and or respond to this blog. It is as always, one small part in trying to get things better for all drivers on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.



1st October 2017.

Goodaye all. The caravan video was well received but has not gone as far as I had hoped, but you can only do so much. We have filmed the first episode of “TRUCK That” a new idea to do a weekly or monthly news update for the industry, on a social media video platform. Subject to how it looks, we hope to release it soon.

I mentioned the fatigue research a couple of weeks ago. When the RSRT was killed off, some of the funding for it went to funding fatigue research. Now many of us believe the current logbook and laws do not manage our fatigue. Yes, they may well regulate the hours we do, but no book can tell when you are tired and unfortunately, that is the only thing we have. There is no test for fatigue and even many experts agree you cannot measure fatigue. This may well change in the not too distant future, but for now, we have two real alternatives, live with what we have, or see research done to truly understand the issues.

The unreal third alternative is for all truckies to agree and nominate a workable platform we will all agree on and have the states accept that, as you agree, a fairy tale. So we put up, or we take part in this research being done by the NTC. They have said there will be no changes to the current laws until such research is done. Some think the results are all ready in, that they have decided what they want and the research will be made to give those answers. A some what cynical view, but with the way we have been treated for the last 30 years, not completely unwarranted.

But if we do not take part, how can we argue what we do need? How can we seek to have better rules when there is nothing to validate our concerns about logbooks and safe t cam actually working against our fatigue. How can we force more discussion and effort into more and better rest areas, when we cannot show the actual need? I have put my hand up, I have spoken with the NTC and now the people doing the research and I have raised my concerns and issues and still aim to be involved. Like all things, if only two drivers take part, will we get a good result, of course not.

What will you do to see better laws that do allow us to manage our fatigue better, to see more rest areas? Will you take part, or will you whinge later, that the bloody current laws are no good. Go to the NTC website and look for fatigue research and take part please. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


Trucks and Caravans and Rest Areas.

Goodaye all. Yesterday I attended the Retreat Caravans rally at Mudgee. I had been invited some time ago and having planned my Churchill Fellowship trip for this year, was unsure of my ability to attend. No one else had stepped up and having deferred my trip, I again offered to attend. I had deliberately chosen the 3PM timeslot to allow for what happens in this job.
Tuesday back into Dubbo from Brisbane, truck due for service and trailers due for rego inspection, so a day off, very unusual in the middle of the week, write the list and see how we go. Thursday morning trailers down for inspection, part loaded on the way back, filled nearly to the brim in the yard, then a bit more just to make life interesting and away at 4PM.
Into Brisbane 2.30 AM, took my break then into the yard to take off the extras, off to the first drop, going well, then to the second drop, 2 hours in the que, then, can I do a pickup, or two, depends what time I get out. Fellow unloading said, as you will all have heard before, no one came early this morning and there has been a que since 10 AM and he is on his own. To the pick-up, wait for an hour, then the forky had a problem getting the IBCs into the space on the floor and whilst I thought I was diplomatic, it was starting to look nasty, but the foreman came along and helped out, then we were underway. Not a chance of the second pick-up, but back to the yard to fill up and could barely even get in the yard. A further delay.
Finally loaded and off at 6PM, scoffed tea going up the Gap, at 67 tonne going slow enough, a cuppa at Goondiwindi but no copies of Owner Driver yet, damn and then to Bellata to bed. Up on hours but legal, so back to the yard, drop the trailers, home shower, in the car and got to the site at Mudgee just after two with time for a cuppa before set up.

Earlier that morning, travelling southbound through the Pilliga, a truckie on the UHF, “You are a #$%&*%$ idiot in the van, nearly took the bullbar off the front of the truck”. I replied, “I do understand your frustration, but abusing them (and few will be listening) will not help, surely trying to explain the problem would be better”. This of course sparked comments from others that “You will never educate them”, so I again replied, “Well I am off to try this afternoon, speaking to a group of vanners and yes, like us, they are not all perfect, but surely trying to educate instead of abusing them, will be better in the long run”.

Further down the road, “on the UHF again, “Bloody caravan has baulked me again, slowing down for the bottom of the hill, then speeding up, what a goose”. Through the roadworks and he deliberately did it again, it was obvious and so I said on the radio, “What a helpful vanner, looks like he did that deliberately” and the reply was, “I did”. I again called up, “So why would you do that mate?” Reply, “I’m not your mate”, my reply, “Obviously, but why would you do that?” No reply.

Truck in front of me got the one behind the van to read off the rego and he rang the Police and they said they would come out and have a chat with him. The three vans then separately pulled off and let us all (now a que of over 10 vehicles) past, with the last van, the offender, stopping in a rest area. Had I not been running late, I would have stopped to chat nicely and explain.

Discover Downunder were on site at Mudgee and did an interview with me prior and then filmed a bit of my presentation and we hope they will extend the message even further.

Slight technical difficulties meant I could not use the videos embedded in my Powerpoint presentation, but a good crowd, unfortunately due to time, no copies of my “Rvers Survey” to give out nor copies of Owner Driver, which this month details the story of the truckie listed previously here, who overtook a van nearly running a car off the road. I was hoping to show the vanners, I was not completely biased and was aware we too, as truckies have to do the right thing.

We could though show the sharing rest areas video as below and it was welcomed and applauded at the end. One suggestion was a petition to get more rest areas built and I hope to have this up later today. I welcome your comments and hope it is accepted in the theme in which it was done, sharing rest areas.

Thanks to the Retreat Caravans Family Group for the invite, to Discover Downunder for the filming and to Stephen at Whiteline Television for the video. Please share it. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.



17th September 2017. Issues.

Goodaye all. Got home yesterday and been busy since. Have raised the issues of personal use of heavy vehicles, (just submitted to NHVR and then posted my submission to Facebook to show I do actually participate and not simply ask others to do so) fatigue research needing participants, otherwise we will be stuck with rules made, policed and overseen by others who do not have to live by them and asked people to contribute to the update of the National Road Safety Strategy.

I put bits up on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and now am including same here. It is very hard to get truckies to participate, many do not learn of the need for comments till too late, if at all and many still even ask me, why do I bother when nothing has changed for years. I do understand their cynicism, we have not solved the industries problems yet and better men than I have tried. Yet if we all expect someone else to solve our problems, then we are doomed to continue to suffer from them.

The closing date for submissions for the personal use is the 30th September and I first saw it perhaps a week ago, but how many others drivers even knew? Such things should be in industry press the month previous to get good responces, otherwise we might become cynical and say it was put out with the aim of not really giving us the chance to contribute. Sacre Bleu!

Last week I was approached by a driver who had his window smashed at Moree and I followed this up with Owner Driver who have since ran an online story (and any affected, please at the very least ring the Police so the issue can be pursued, if you don’t then no one will know the full extent of the problem) and the week end prior, attended the AGM of the National Road Freighters Association at the Kenworth plant in Bayswater.

We had expected more to attend being at the plant and including a tour of the factory, but times are tough and it is a long way and huge cost, let alone the time off work for anyone north or west of Victoria. Kenworth welcomed us and I cannot thank them enough for their professionalism and support. The factory tour does show you the effort they go into and whilst we no longer make cars here, we do trucks for our market very well. The TIV K200 owned by Rod Pilon Transport is now over 1.3 million kilometres and still looks and operates well, surely a testament to a terrific product. Yes I will sing their praises and hope they will support the next TIV, if I don’t recognise those who help and support me with the TIV, they will not see the value in that support.

Next week I will follow up with the fatigue research. Any who are interested please check out the NTC website so you have an idea of what it is all about. Yes again, I will be asking for others to participate, but I have all ready put many hours into this on the phone and will continue to push for a result that recognises our issues and needs. Some think the results are already decided and the rules will be changed against us, so the only way to make sure we get heard, is to take part. Please share these issues, discuss them with other drivers, as only one voice, I simply cannot do it alone.

I welcome those who read this and hope to show that most truckies do have more than just the aim, of earning a dollar. There was another media hatchet job on all of us, yet none of us wants the idiots who bring us all done, on the road either, but how do we achieve that? When you find out, please let me know. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


10th September 2017. Interaction

Goodaye all. The way we interact with people not only has an impact on our own lives, it can have much further influence on how we are treated by others and even more distant, but still relevant, how we are seen by other groups.

None of us likes getting a ticket from the Police and for those with big mouths and small brains, bagging the coppers (or road authorities or road workers etc) for just doing their job, will only ever confirm the bagger’s stupidity and at the least, will only make the baggee less likely to be reasonable or perhaps, even human, and at the worst, it could mean the next person getting a ticket will cop it more. We can be frustrated over delays at roadworks and even, wonder about the costs and time taken to fix a bit of road, but abusing those on the side of the road will only reinforce the view that the baggers (and his kind) are idiots.

On my Facebook page, “Audiobooks for the road”, I have just reviewed “The Dry”, the debut novel of Jane Harper. A dinkum Aussie story of a town in drought and people with secrets and yes, this is fiction, but I am sure many of you have heard that truth can be stranger (and perhaps even worse), than fiction. In the story, a new local country cop comes on a murder/ suicide involving the shooting of a young boy and it really made me think of the life of a cop. Giving out tickets must be a damn side easier than dealing with murderers, rapists and drug freaks, but I think many forget that side of things.

As I said above and have said on the UHF after an outburst against a copper, true we don’t like getting a ticket, but abusing them and suggesting nasty things about their parentage, will not make you less guilty, it will only makes things worse. We all might abuse a stupid car driver to ourselves in the truck, but winding down the window and doing so is, I believe a step too far. Similarly, abusing a caravanner over the UHF (or even more foolishly a car driver who is very unlikely to hear you, but you want to be a big man by abusing them and showing all how tough you can be), will that help?

Will it educate the abused to understand what they did wrong, will they learn how to do something better or safer in the future, or are they simply more likely to think all truck drivers are idiots? Surely you have all heard from the man himself or about a “mate” who got out of the truck and told the copper/scalie what a goose he was and he put him in his place. How would you respond to such an introduction? Would you then offer your hand to shake? Of course not. If you launch out of the truck in any situation with a mouthful of abuse and bad manners, can you then expect to be treated fairly.

There is a story of a truckie who did this and the copper got out his book and started writing tickets, the truckie kept abusing him etc and eventually, his brain slowly activated and he said to the officer, when will you stop writing those tickets and the copper replied, “When you calm down and shut up for a second”. These officers can have a gun and or a pen and sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword, or gun in this case at least. If you want respect from those who pull you up on the side of the road, you must first give it to get it back, you must earn it.

If they do not give it in return, then you do have the right to take that up with their superiors. If you don’t, who will tell them of the actions of the person on the side of the road and how many drivers will be badly treated by such a person with no overarching close authority. Help all your mates on the road by being fairer, understanding those who do not understand us, offering advice instead of abuse and we will all live happily ever after. Sorry for the fairy tale ending, but which way do you want things to go? Do you want things to improve, or  get worse? I can only do so much as an individual, but imagine what we could all achieve, if we just slightly changed a couple of things we do.

Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


1st September 2017 Anti trucking 1?

Goodaye all. A couple of years ago we had an issue at Boggabilla with young locals throwing rocks at trucks as they went through the village. It is a 50 KPH zone and we have to slow to do a 90 degree turn at the Wobbly Boot pub as part of the Newell Highway. The vent on the side of the TIV still bears the scar from a rock. One elderly car driver had his windscreen smashed and then hit a pole and a truck driver got glass in his eye and was taken to hospital and they are two serious events I was told of, though I also heard of many others where rocks were thrown at trucks.

Boggabilla was a problem with the local Police station being across the road from where it was happening, but not always manned and though the Qld Police are only 10 minutes away in Goondiwindi, the closest NSW Police are in Moree, over an hour away, so reporting it got it listed, but little else done. I rang industry associations and they too spoke with Police and I tried the Gundi paper with no responce.

The problem seemed to move to Moree when the bypass was opened. A long fence was put up along the train line which now paralleled the highway, but the locals seem to have a problem with the fence and not only keep cutting holes in it, they also have a large supply of railway ballast rocks to throw at trucks while they hide behind the shrubs. By the time we pull up, they have bolted into the dark. Two weeks ago a northbound driver called me up saying they were at it again, his truck had been hit by a rock, so I asked had he rang the Police? He was about to pull up and check for damage and would ring then.

Last week as I was having tea at Bellata, another driver told me he had his left hand window smashed on his way through Moree, he had rung the Police and reported it, but now had glass all through his bedding, could not secure the truck, would lose hours getting it fixed and could have been hit in the head by the rock, if he had not had the window up. When this first started to happen, I again rang industry associations, they contacted Police higher up and were told there would be a campaign in the schools etc. I contacted RMS, as they had built the road and my understanding was that some funding would be made available to light the section, so the throwers could not hide in the dark and the fence would be fixed.

Not only do the locals keep cutting the fence, they smash some of the lighting there now and all are frustrated, Police, RMS, council etc, but they of course, are not getting rocks thrown at them. Unless Mr Trump comes here and builds a wall, it is not possible to get rid of all the rocks, the lighting has not been improved and the shrubs are now big enough for a man to hide behind, let alone a few kids. I have suggested to RMS to at the least, remove the shrubs so we can see anyone there and to fix and extend the lighting, but the ARTC “own” the verge and the shrubs and we all know how quickly government bodies are to act on such important matters.

What have we done to deserve having our lives at risk doing our job and driving on a national highway? It is bad enough with uneducated car drivers trying to kill us each week, but now we even have kids against us. Years ago we had a truck driver tragically killed by someone who threw a rock off an overpass, it was not the first event, but thankfully to my knowledge, the only death and now, all overpasses are fenced.

What can be done to stop this stupidity, who will act before a driver is killed by a rock and who will be responsible if it does happen? How can people get away with it and why are trucks the target? If you have been affected, what have you done and who have you reported it to. We cannot touch them, even if we could catch them, so what will be done to stop this? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.