1st December 2019 older and or crankier?

Goodaye all. So many things to attend and contribute to. I was invited to attend and even speak at the Heavy Vehicle Forum in Wagga Wednesday last, but as I could not guarantee it, deferred hoping to attend if I could. However I ended up getting some suspension repairs done in Dubbo, so missed that one, but was then contacted by ABC radio and did get to hear most of Phil Brooks comments in the interview they did with him after the event while on hold. I then had a chance to respond and covered most of my usual areas of concern.

I may still be able to get to the NTC meeting Brisbane Monday and am currently trying to sort that. I do recognise there is some feedback being put forward by the NTC from submissions and comments thus far and welcome the chance to get those comments out to more people, for further feedback. It must be a consultative process, otherwise we will be told by those who don’t have to do it, how to, yet again.

I must be getting older, or drivers are getting worse. None of us likes being tailgated and many will whinge about a truck being too close behind (and yes, some do, yet often we must be reasonably close, to have any chance of safely overtaking those who wish to travel below the speedlimit) yet more and more, even when there is no traffic behind them and even more ridiculously on dual lanes, cars overtake and then pull in front with less than a car length between us. They whinge when we are too close, yet do the exact thing they whinge about to us. If there is only two lanes and a car coming, I don’t want anyone on the wrong side for longer than necessary, but when there is no one and no need, why must they pull in so close? Please explain?

Those who must also pass the truck before the exit, no matter how close to the exit, then chop across in front of the truck are getting prolific. Some such racing car drivers, will then cross up to three lanes at the very last second and will take offence should I protest with the horn. I know life is short and hectic, but why must we try to make it much shorter and risk others lives, simply to save two seconds, yet often still be in the very same spot on the exit ramp. Most of our highway signage gives some warning, so you can access the correct lane before the exit, yes sometimes we miss such signs, but it is becoming worse and more dangerous that the odd one. It seems they simply must pass the truck at any cost to cut the truck off for the exit. Why???

I am getting a bit frustrated, still trying to get the next and last TIV on the road. To any with a million spare and a love of trucks, happy to put your name on it if you want to help.

Then we have all the other truckies getting older (and probably crankier too and no wonder with the antics above as not even a small part of the issues on the road). And mostly they too want better roads (not happening in many places, some even getting worse), better education of car drivers about sharing the road with trucks (some efforts here including my own with the Truckies Top Ten Tips and now the videos http://www.sharetheroad.net.au getting some extra traction on Facebook, please share if you agree) and not even just more, but better and sufficient rest areas.

How do we manage our fatigue if there is nowhere to park, sleep and go to the loo? We seem to be losing spots here and there in districts and areas across Australia, then getting one parking bay. We need a National Rest Area Strategy, not just for truckies, but for all road users. However, we are the only ones fined substantial amounts if we don’t stop when our inflexible and now camera supported logbooks say we must. Whether we are tired or not, whether there is shade and or a toilet or any food for miles, we must stop when a book tells you to. Does this manage our fatigue? No. Does it make the roads safer? No. Would better education of motorists and more rest areas improve road safety for all? Yes. Then why has it taken so long for the former and still no real effort on the latter?

Can you help? Yes you can, by making comment, being positive, spreading the word and doing your best to be compliant, yet holding the authorities to task to help us achieve compliance, not punishing us for failing to do it their way! I ask you now, do you think truckies are all bad? Do you think we honestly get a fair go?

I want you to watch every truck you see in the next week and keep a tally. How many just do the job well and safely and you in theory, may not notice them at all? But those that do the wrong thing (and this may only be wrong in your eyes as you are not driving the truck) are the ones you will remember and tell others about. I have asked this of radio presenters and each time they have come back with, “I didn’t realise how many trucks are on the road and that before, I only really saw those I thought were doing something I thought wrong”.

I would welcome any replies. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

24th November 2019

Goodaye all. Rushing to get to work now, a too short week-end. Late home Saturday, I got the TIV washed at the King of the Road Truckwash late Friday night, went to bed and then had a sleep in. Back to Dubbo, a bit off and a bit on, sorted but still have to finish some paperwork before I go. Got to BPW to have the EBS checked Monday, fixed one problem and found another, and hope to sort this week.

Earlier in the week came out of Brisbane to Toowoomba the Gap still closed, to get to Warwick for a pick up and the smoke was there all the way from Toowoomba to Warwick and on to Goondiwindi. Australia, a land of drought and flooding rains and then we add bushfires to fill out the list. Many affected and I fear it will get worse before it gets better. Thank you to all the fireies and others who have done their bit to help.

I managed to get to talk to the Senate inquiry at Albury Friday morning. Whilst I missed the NTC meeting in Melbourne Thursday, you can only do so much as an employed driver and whilst sometimes it works, it, like much of our jobs, is all too often well out of our hands. I had been contacted and offered a spot, but could not confirm till Thursday at the earliest as I had hoped to be in Melbourne for Thursday, then Albury Friday on the way home, but not so.

I thank Glen Sterle and the other members of the inquiry for giving me the chance to talk to them. I did add about the locked in and completely ridiculous way our living away from home and meals allowance are controlled now. In a previous discussion with Glen on the phone, he told me what the pollies get for meal allowance and whilst I do not begrudge them what they get, I don’t see any correlation in how they should be treated so differently.

I spoke first so I could get on the way to Melbourne and unload and reload etc and believe there was up to a dozen others to follow. I covered most of the contents of my written submission, offered all of the members of the inquiry a trip in the TIV (and Glen has confirmed he will take me up on it in the new year) and hope they can do something to see things change for the better.

Have to rush now to set myself up for the week. If you get stuffed about on the first night, it can have such a bad effect on the rest of the week, but those of you who drive, know all about it. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

17th November 2019 TWAL 20th Dinner.

Goodaye all. Last night I accompanied my daughter Katie and her partner Luke, to the Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner in Melbourne. TWAL through their sponsorship from Daimler, have four scholarships available to help people improve their knowledge or advance their transport career. TWAL made other awards including the inaugural Pickering Memorial Award to Pam McMillan, for her over 18 years involvement with the group.

The four winners came from 4 different states and each has a different course or aim and my daughter Katie was one of the four winners. Katie aims to do a Certificate 4 in Transport and Logistics and her employer will also contribute to the course cost. The “Driving the Difference Scholarships” will help those achieve more I am sure. To my knowledge, these are the only scholarships of this type available to those within the transport industry and I would like to thank and congratulate Daimler and TWAL for the initiative.

Many other companies support TWAL, some like PACCAR, Cummins and Teletrac-Navman are also supporters of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and without all those supporters, TWAL would not be able to work to encourage women into trucking. How many other groups go the extra mile to get young women in? There is a group in the USA as well and much like everything there, it is much bigger, but to all who have been involved here with TWAL since its inception, all involved now and those women who want to help and participate, even if only through being a member and doing their bit to improve things for all, I would heartily recommend you consider joining TWAL. Men can join as well to support and contribute and we need good young people to get involved.

One hundred and eighty-eight attended the dinner and it was well run and organised, congratulations to all involved. It is not often I get the chance to meet with those outside of drivers and yet, many of the conversations I took part in, centred on the other aspects and careers in the industry which are often over-looked. I was at the table with the four winners and each has a role that has given them a chance to contribute their skills and passion to an industry many love and enjoy.

I spoke with the four winners and hope they all do well in their careers. We have little positives in many ways in our industry as too often we only seem to attract the bad press and this is certainly one of those positives, an association of women helping others get involved in transport. Well done.
Many asked how I got there and thanks as always to Rod Pilon Transport for helping. I took a load down, did some rearranging Saturday before heading off to the dinner and have spent today taking it easy, though I have cleaned out the trailer toolboxes and caught up on some TV. I have a couple of drops to do in the morning and hope to get a couple of things looked at on the TIV before loading out tomorrow afternoon.

I had two incidents during the week, one a truck with overheating brakes that drew much comment on the UHF and another where a fellow said he did not see all the signs at roadworks. Thankfully he just overshot the queued traffic but copped an earful again on the radio. It could have been much worse, and both go to show, you can’t not watch and or be aware of what you are doing.

None of us are perfect, but one of those incidents could be lousy or no training, getting a license when that alone is not enough for you to survive on the roads and the other a lack of or loss of concentration. Either could have become a major crash or cost a life. How do we change that? How do we ensure that drivers know what is required and keep doing it? If you can answer that, you will make a difference.

Applications are open again for NHVR Heavy Vehicle Safety projects and if you have a safety idea, if you think you have the solution to a road safety problem, then make an effort to put in a submission. You may save a life or many, but that won’t happen if we all sit back and do nothing and expect others to do it for us. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

10th November 2019 Time, food and tax.

Goodaye again. Got back to Dubbo Friday, in for a service, do a couple of little jobs on the trailers then home. Have had a quiet day, dinner with family and still trying to catch up on news and events. I have tried to read most of the submissions for the senate inquiry (and did do the same for the HVNL review but have got behind in them) and there are some good points raised. Thanks to all who have submitted and to those in the future who will whinge about the outcome, whatever it may be, you had a chance and couldn’t be bothered, so don’t whinge now. Forty odd submissions to the Senate Inquiry, will that be enough and will they listen? Let’s hope.

Either I am getting older and angrier or car drivers are getting worse. It seems I can’t go even one trip into or out of a capital city, without at the very least one car driver, and often more, rushing to pass me and then at the last minute, push across and take an exit, they could simply have stayed behind and taken in safety. Yes, sometimes we get caught in the wrong lane and no one will let you across, but this seems deliberate and nearly a game. Yes I can get past this b-double and push in before the exit, sometimes more than one, sometimes at nearly the very last second and should I be so arrogant to suggest they have done the wrong thing (they have and risked not only their own lives and their passengers) by a blast on the horn, most will give me the finger.

Similarly, how can someone who has a license and therefore should know the rules and laws, expect a large heavily loaded truck to slow for them to merge simply because they are there and want to get in front of the truck. By law, they, the merging party must give way, but they won’t wait for the truck to go past and merge, they must be in front no matter what or how much they have to push in. Some will then have the immediate need to stop or turn at the next exit, obviously in a life or death hurry, the same with the pushers in, must you risk lives to simply gain two spaces or two seconds?

Are we teaching aggression, are we teaching stupidity to our learners, or are those older drivers simply in too much of a rush? I would welcome your thoughts.
Well done to the NHVR on the announcement of the personal use time for truckies being also available now on BFM and AFM. It is something I have been asking for, for many years. Yes, I saw it was available to drivers in the USA and asked, why not here? If I am stuck on a 24 hour break away from home, I have a license for the truck, I have a registered vehicle, with the owners permission, why can I not legally use it to go to the shop or chemist or whatever? Why should I get a $600 fine for going to the shop to buy food or supplies for my next week on the road? It has been an unfair and even yet another revenue raising penalty, simply because I am a truckie. THANKS NHVR.

On the other side of that, there are some truckstops who till now, knew we risked a fine to go to the supermarket to get the goods they sell at higher prices. Perhaps this will make some more competitive and give us better value. It may well give us the chance to get better, different or fresher food elsewhere, or even help us be more healthy on the road. Let’s hope so.

But do we then get a fair go at the tax office? If I buy food on the road, it is dearer than the places I simply cant access to park near in a b-double. If I buy that food to save some money at a supermarket to then eat on the road, I can’t claim it? Is this fair, no. But what can we do about it? Let me know your solutions please. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

3rd November 2019 Raining and home.

Goodaye all. Well for the first time in a while, I got home to Dubbo Friday, unloaded and will load Monday for Brisbane. Got a new logbook and audiobooks on the way home and now I will have time to finish my submission for the senate inquiry, write a piece about my request for both a National Road Standard and a National Rest Area Strategy, do my audiobook reviews, write this blog and catch up with all the other industry news and issues. The road standard and rest area strategy have been mentioned in HVNL review submissions, but there will not be a number 8 HVNL paper and I had planned to do a conclusion and include more details there. So I now have to send it to the NTC direct.

Both will be in the senate submission and have been mentioned in HVNL, but not to completion. I am disappointed at the number of submissions to both, but did hassle a mate when he rang last week to get something in and he has done so, along with a couple of others I have asked. I continue to believe the HVNL review did not get the exposure it needed to get more input.

The NTC and I understand also the senate inquiry, will be holding meetings where you can attend and that is well and good for those in associations who will be paid to attend. No one will pay a driver to attend as far as I know and it is just not the time. Even a company CEO who feels strongly enough to get up and support the industry and hopefully his drivers, will be paid to attend. He will not lose income and his company will pay for accommodation and airfares etc.

I cannot do all I would like, unless I completely ignore my bills and my family and neither of them will forgive or respect me for it, nor should they. It just highlights the near hypocrisy of reviews and inquiries that not all are treated the same. This is why I wanted more action to include drivers and their views. We are the only ones directly affected by much of the laws involved, both in how it controls our life on the road, but also in the actions we must then take to comply.

We must do as the law says to comply, if we don’t, we can be punished and our families too by the fines that often have nothing to do with road safety. Many drivers have commented for years, we are the only ones punished, we are the only ones held to account, we are forced to drive when tired and sleep when we are not, to comply with laws designed and policed by those who sit in boardrooms with hot and cold running secretaries, loos on every floor, five star food within reach and similar accommodation when they leave home.

Come and live on the road for a week and see what you think then. I have before had many members of the NTC do a trip with me. All have said they gained from the experience. One fellow came back to me after a discussion about a trip and said, “I will do a trip with you to Albury” (from Melbourne where he was based). I said, “Sorry no. Unless you agree to do a trip from Melbourne to Dubbo, I will not take you. If you only go to Albury, all you will see is the Hume Highway and you will go away thinking you know about transport and our problems. Yes, I will explain them all during the trip, but you must see more than the Hume, or I am not doing my part and you will miss all the issues.”

He came back to me and agreed to do the full trip and was to do so in his own time, but the NTC agreed to pay him for it and I agree they should have. He later attended a meeting, where someone said, “He took a 180 degree turn from where he was at the meeting before the trip.” How many in any state jurisdiction, transport ministry, or any industry group or union work fulltime on the road? Yes we can write submissions and put in comments, but as two of the first submissions to the senate inquiry commented (and there were only 15 at the first cut-off date) “I have written to these things before and nothing has changed so why should I bother now. Nothing will change now.” I do understand this frustration and feel it deeply.

What more can I do? I have spent well over 50 hours on HVNL and now senate inquiry submissions. I have done radio interviews asking for drivers to put in submissions. I have had industry press push hard for more access and submissions and asked individual drivers to contribute. Will anything change? I bloody hope so. Have to complete the other writings now, so back to the direct stuff. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

27th October 2019 Spreading the word.

Goodaye all. Thank you to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia for their invite to their national rally at Elmore last Sunday. From the time I pulled up, there were people reading the banners I use at shows, asking questions and inspecting the TIV.

The first “workshop” held at the truck, had quite a number attend with an informal session on why I was there and general questions about trucks and the TIV. A number made the effort to climb in and inspect the interior with many commenting on the array of extras in the cab. At the end I had to beg off to get to the next more formal seminar, held inside with a Powerpoint presentation using photos and videos, including our sharing rest areas video. That went for an hour and a half with again, a need to call a halt to more questions to end the session.

At the end it was standing room only and many outside looking in. The organisers said after they were unsure how many would attend, but were very happy with the numbers who did. All I can say to those who suggest many people will not listen to our side of things, is that we must give them the chance. Abusing them over the UHF will do more harm than good and those who come to listen, I believe are far more likely to take something away of value, that will help them not only be safer on the road, but that will give them some better, if only minor understanding of some of our issues.

Stephen McCarthy from Whiteline Television and his lovely wife Sarah made a weekend away of it and then attended Sunday, filming our next TRUCK That Australia episode at the rally. Any of you who haven’t seen the previous episodes can do so at http://www.truckingnation.com.au where this latest episode, along with all our top tips and rest area videos can be seen. If you like them, please share them and you will help us make the roads safer for all. The Top Tips videos have been rereleased here and on Whiteline TV and have had some get excellent exposure. All we want now is for the road authorities to use them for young driver education. Do you think they fit the bill?

There was a fellow on site selling stickers and I had a lady come and tell me they had been selling them with Channel 18 etc 75mm tall, so I set off in search to discuss this. On arrival, he said many had come along since my seminar asking for 200mm tall, so they had taken my comments and examples on board and I further explained why it was important. I left with a mutual agreement of the suggested size.

Along with my spot on Triple M at 1AM Wednesday, where we discussed engine acronyms and management systems, I was then contacted by ABC radio re “Gator treads”, a USA term for retreads coming off on the road. I spoke on the rise in CTI systems for trucks and trailers and the systems on the TIV to check tyre pressures and temperatures, but that with the sensor inside the tyre, it can be hard to get them replaced, though as the systems and parts improve, it will further extend tyre life and reduce failures. It all depends of course on whether you buy premium tyres and or retreads or the cheapest and how well you maintain them and both check them and pressures regularly.

I then did a spot on 4 RO in Rockhampton Thursday afternoon when travelling through in response to a call for “What are you doing now” and was given a fair go talking about the videos of the top tips, hoping to help educate young drivers and some of our issues on the road. So got to some motorists, some motorhomers and now to get back to HVNL Review paper number 7 due on the 30th and then the senate inquiry, now extended to the 8th November. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

19th October 2019 CMCA National Rally.

Goodaye all. It has been a cool day here in Melbourne. Every time I planned to get the truck washed it rained, so it will not be its’ best for tomorrow unfortunately. I have spent the day catching up, submitting number 6 submission to the NTC HVNL Review, working on number 7, Effective Enforcement and that is up to page 5 so far with more to do. It is due at the end of the month. I had started my submission to the senate enquiry which was due Thursday just gone, but there has been an extension to 8th November, so I will have a bit more time to extend and detail it better.

Any of you who want things improved, do not miss the chance to have a say. I have just spent a couple of hours going through the current submissions, 15 so far I think and whilst there are some saying virtually only that nothing will change, there are a couple of very detailed and valuable submissions and with the extension, I urge any with trucking knowledge and passion to contribute.

Importance of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry

On 11 September 2019, the Senate moved that the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by April 2020.

Some audio book reviews, replies to emails and a bit of surfing and chasing industry news and stories, tuna and rice crackers for lunch, rice cream and fruit for tea. Had plenty of food with me, so lived out of the truck, but had use of the depot, good for out of the rain.

Will be off in the morning to Elmore for the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) National Rally doing a workshop in front of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and then a seminar inside. One of the members saw me at the “Stone the Crows” festival in Wagga and invited me to attend. CMCA is the largest group of RVers with I believe over 30,000 members and their own magazine “The Wanderer” which I have had articles in over the years.

I have attended a couple of previous rallies, but many years ago and the last, only by car as the engine in the Kenworth needed some warranty overhaul work. Always better with the TIV there.

Thanks as always to Rod Pilon Transport for arranging the work to get me here.

It has been a bugger of a week, with a flat steer tyre, luckily I had enough time and space to stop safely on a turn off lane, but needed some help and a tyre as by the time I stopped, it was down on the rim, but no further damage.

Must have been something on the road, there was a mark on the inside, but saw nothing prior to the deflation and found nothing on the road or in the tyre?
That held me up a bit, but a rubbed through radiator hose did much more damage to my time. It was of course hot and as my parts procurer and mechanical assistant is a bigger fellow than me, I was the one to get under the truck and there is not much room. Covered in coolant etc, but due to the delay was not able to load that night as planned and that made the next day a long one. The joys of trucking.

Those in the depots helped, loading me again in Dubbo so I could have a feed etc and then a bit of fun in Melbourne at a drop where it was a bit tight, but again, all good, just fun getting out. Loading completed and back to the depot for a top up, but all gone home, no problem.

A good night’s sleep last night caught me up and keen to chat and disseminate tomorrow, then unload Parkes Monday and see what the world of transport will deliver for next week. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

13th October 2019 Hello again.

Goodaye all. Two Mondays ago, I had a plan to sleep in, do my blog etc, then ring work for a loading time as the other truck was loading at 9AM, normally the first slot for outsiders, so I was to be sometime after that. At 7.05 AM, I got a call, “You have to load at 8AM”. “When did you find this out?” was my reply. “Just now, they sent the details after we left Friday, sorry.”

It was a scramble, but I made it. The week just rolled on from there with little room for blogging or much else. Coming into Brisbane last Thursday (having confirmed when leaving Toowoomba I would be loading in Brisbane, topping up in Warwick, then drops at Moree and home) I got another call. “When will you be in Sydney?” “I am not going to Sydney.” “Yes you are now and I need to know when you can load?” “I will work it out and get back to you.” When loading in Brissie, I asked can I unload Monday? Reply, buckleys. Thanks.

Suffice to say, the next two days were a lot of fun, not. Got into Sydney, M7 entry closed, so having had just enough time to get to one place, had to settle for the other. How do you plan for such things when you don’t live there? Not the best spot for good sleep either, but what do you do? Two drops, out early for Newcastle I thought, rang to say will be on time to load, but with most of the population of Sydney leaving too, so well over an hour to get from the depot onto Pennant Hills Road alone.

Rang again on the way, sorry delays, will be 10 to 15 minutes late, not good, will call them, damn. In to load, they all want to go home, funny that eh? Loaded, weights and freight not as I asked, but they were keen to get away, further discussions about now doing a drop on the way, maybe, check with work, yes if OK with me. Finished loading and went to loo, came out, everyone gone and gate locked. Stood in the middle of the yard yelling “Hello”, no answer. Luckily gate was only dummy locked when I went to check.

On the road and off to Narrabri for a shower and bed late that night. With holiday Monday and time available, attended the Narrabri Truckshow on Saturday. The first there for a number of years and supported by the town and many local businesses, well done to all, 63 trucks in attendance and a good first show and will only grow and expand. Due to restrictions of space and access, only trucks, no trailers allowed, so could not display the TIV with trailers. Did some touch up painting, enjoyed some good discussions, a couple of “thank yous” for my efforts, photos and then on the road with one stop along the way to clean some guide posts (where there were still some old blue reflectors) arriving in Roma after midnight.

Sunday morning, offered a couple of Green Reflector Bay posters to the servo there, grabbed a coffee and off. Did a drop to a mine on Sunday evening (the extra one asked about Friday), what a bit of road, 20 kph too fast for the corrugations for about 4 kilometres, and that after going to the other one, similar name but different and the instructions had left out a turn. Then being told on arrival, that’s not us, it is down the road a bit, no you can’t turn round inside, you will have to do it out there. Not easy, not impressed, not very helpful, “Thanks for that”! Pulled up late that night for bed.

Did more painting Monday, cleaned inside truck, caught up on reading, did shopping, then unload Tuesday. I do not have an internet connection in the truck, simply another bill I don’t need and can’t justify for the odd time needed. Normally do all the extras at home or in depots, but not these last two weeks. Home finally today after getting sopping wet in Brisbane loading Friday, just made it into Tamworth, unloaded and on my break now and off tomorrow to load for Melbourne.

Next week won’t be home for long, I have been invited to do a talk and have a truck display at the CMCA National Rally on Sunday. If all goes to plan, let’s hope, I may be able to let you know how it went next week.
Any of you vaguely interested in trucks and road safety might consider putting in a submission to the current Senate inquiry. Glen Sterle from WA got it up and whilst we still have the NTC led HVNL review underway, every chance to contribute can only help. Wil it change things? Let’s hope. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

22nd September 2019

Goodaye all. Short and sweet this week. A big week on the road, reports to TMR and Vicroads, separate comments back from Vicroads about marking some sites on the Hume with green reflectors, a report written on the Toowoomba Second range crossing to go to the QTA for comments first, then others.

Need to do a new list for RMS for the Newell and an even longer list for TMR for the Gore Highway. Some green reflectors replaced here and there with one young lady policeman asking me was I OK walking along the highway with a torch. I explained the reason and she was happy to learn and then pass on the intent.

Working on HVNL review document 6, only three to complete, but then need to do one for the senate inquiry.

Looking for sponsors, minor and major for the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle, all welcome. Plan to have on the road next year. I want to thank all who have helped so far and have done testimonials for some and happy to do for those who participate.

Trailers due for rego soon, so machinery inspections this week. Now 11 years old, 9 wheels still on original brake linings at 2.2 million kilometres. No major failures, obviously usual wear and tear, but I have had people comment the trailers still look good for their age and the curtains still deliver a positive message.

Vawdrey trailers, Attards curtains, these ones 8 years old now, BPW suspensions, NARVA lights, ANCRA winches, Groeneveld Auto Greasers, Alcoa wheels, Jost turntables, Checkweigh scales, 3M conspicuity tapes and originally Michelin tyres, all contributed in one way or another and outstanding service and reliability from each and everyone. Thanks to each of you for your part in helping get this on the road. There are other sponsors for the truck and will cover them next week.

The best addition to these curtains over the first set, was the Australian Heavy Vehicle Combinations panel, showing types of trucks on our roads. At the time this set of curtains was designed by myself, the Australian Roadtrain Association (which later merged with NATROAD) had set up the combinations list with just roadtrain types and I asked permission to extend that list. Kenworth trucks, as featured on all the prime movers, spent a lot of time getting it right and I thank them for that. So many have taken photos of the panel, commented on it and or wanted copies over the years, I am so glad I went to the trouble to get it set up right.

Some have asked about other combinations, eg PBS and A doubles etc, but there is such a long list, I had to keep it simple, yet cover the most common configurations on the roads. You can copy the panel from my website http://www.truckright.com.au
Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

15th September 2019 The USA and Us.

Goodaye all. I will be off to work in a few hours and last week, came across this post from young Wendy. Wendy rides with her partner in the USA and writes this piece for Landline magazine and to be fair, this is the complete piece. So I am sharing it with you, but have contacted Wendy as well telling her of my intent. I did have the pleasure of meeting her at the Great American Truck Show (GATS) in Dallas last year at the end of my Churchill Fellowship trip. She can be funny and yet conveys many important messages. What she speaks of here rings so true with many of our problems and should make us think and try harder, to be not only heard, but listened to. How we do that, is the big question.

“It’s almost like lawmakers didn’t listen”
SEPTEMBER 6, 2019 Wendy Parker
When I was a kid there was one phrase my momma used (often) to freeze me in my tracks and listen.
She’d sneak up on me and my brothers like a well-trained ninja and at just the moment any of us (mostly me) did something stupid she’d appear out of thin air to question our complete understanding of how decent human beings are supposed to act with one simple query.
“What in the world is wrong with you?
Woe be unto the offender if it was followed up by, “You better look at me when I’m talking to you,” because the answer could be, “My hair is on fire,” and it wouldn’t matter. Whatever was done in the process of catching your own fool hair on fire was an affront to the general population and, most importantly, something momma couldn’t fathom.
My mom is the kind of parent who would pat out the flames, put some Mercurochrome on the open wounds, and promptly whip a hind-end for playing with matches.
(Side note: Anyone else remember Mercurochrome? I believe it was made of lemon juice and battery acid, mixed with fire ant venom and enough orange dye No. 2 left over to paint your toenails. Pretty sure it was outlawed in the Geneva Convention as “cruel and unusual.”)
I was reminded of the terror momma’s simple question invoked in me as a child while chatting with her a couple weeks ago. Our conversation wandered to trucking, like it always does. She asked, “Honey, why do all these big trucks just pull over to the side of the highway to park? It’s so dangerous.”
I explained to her about the ELD, hours of service and lack of parking all being contributors. She asked, “Well, who makes those rules?”
I told her the FMCSA enacts and enforces rules made by politicians.
I was unprepared when she whipped out the dreaded question, “Well what in the world is wrong with them?”
Of course, her question was rhetorical this time, but it got me thinking about some things.
Trucking’s hair is on fire, and truck drivers didn’t have anything to do with setting it aflame. It’s almost like professional drivers told lawmakers how bad things could get and they didn’t listen.
Trucking advocates asked lawmakers to “look at us” when we were talking to them about the devastating effects enacting the ELD rule would have without amending the HOS. They need to listen. The lawmakers countered with, “It will increase compliance which in turn will save lives.”
Cue a Maury Povich voice-over, because that’s how I imagine this information should be presented to lawmakers: “In the case of HOS Compliance Equates to Safety, the numbers gathered since forced ELD implementation reveal: That is a lie.”
Well isn’t that special? Let’s carry on.
Trucking advocates asked for mandatory driver training rules to make sure new drivers were properly trained. The powers-that-be agreed and set about an arduous process of gathering information with which to craft effective, comprehensive laws regarding driver training.
In my best Morgan Freeman voice, because this sad soliloquy is worthy of Freeman’s vocal timbre: “After many, many hours of unpaid time and travel, the recommendations made by a committee of transportation professionals were almost completely ignored. Further insult was added by failing to require any physical behind-the-wheel requirements in mandatory training. The driver training rule was, in fact, reduced to little more than lip service that will end up taking half a decade to come to fruition.”
Oh my.
And just in case there needed to be more fuel added to the hair-on-fire status, for many years trucking advocates have insisted to anyone who would listen that detention time was one of the most pressing issues in the industry.
Again, lawmakers assured, “An ELD will help drivers get paid for detention time. It will also even the playing field and drive up rates.”
In my best Oprah voice, because she once epitomized the frantic jubilation of unfettered screaming joy: “Who wants an HOS exemption?! Does everyone want one? YES! Does it completely undermine the rules to give out multiple exemptions? WHO CARES? Here’s an exemption, and here’s an exemption! Level playing field? What’s that? We’re giving EXEMPTIONS!”
“Level playing field” is a stupid business term and it is impossible to achieve while outside forces (like slow-poke shippers and receivers) aren’t held responsible for screwing up the flow of commerce by keeping drivers for ridiculous amounts of (often unpaid) time.
Well whaddya know? Drivers have been telling lawmakers this very thing for many years now.
They didn’t listen.
So to answer your question momma, what’s wrong is, we have lawmakers who believe more regulation is the answer, when in fact, it is not. And until we can convince the folks in charge of making rules that compliance does not equal safety, you will continue to see trucks parked on the side of the highway and hear of trucking companies closing the doors.”

Rod again. So does some of this ring true in Australia, yes it does? We have the current HVNL review underway here and I have just got submission number 5 in late and started on 6 and at 7 or 8 hours per submission, with 8 due in total, who will pay me a week and half’s wages for my time? How many drivers will make the effort, or simply, don’t have the time available, let alone be able to meet the deadlines.

Now we have a Senate Enquiry, another chance to get heard, lets hope, but I also spent an hour or so responding to West Australias’ Transport Dept request for input into their road safety strategy. How many times do we have to tell them, yet do they listen? We must keep trying, but Wendy covers it with some down to earth words of wisdom. If only we could get the lawmakers to listen to her too. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.