Categories
Uncategorized

15th September 2021

Goodaye all. The new TIV (prime mover at least) is real, I have even seen a photo. It has been a long time coming and I am itching to get it on the road. However, there is much more to add once it is painted, which will hopefully be completed this week. Then it has to travel and get more stuff fitted, so maybe a month from now.

I hope to be on the road next month in a fill in truck, will have a refurbed set of trailers till the new ones come next year, but so much still to do. Last week I was the only truckie (let alone the only industry person) in a phone hook-up for NSW Regional Telecommunications. I imagine many of you will agree mobile service has gone backwards recently, from no drop-outs from Brisbane to Melbourne, to now I can’t even go ten k north of Dubbo without losing signal. But I put our issues forward.

Then in a meeting with Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds. They are looking to be involved with the design and implementation of a Gold Standard truck rest area. We do have guidelines, but no government requirement to implement one spot, let alone anywhere near the number we need. The intent is worthwhile, but even if they could get some support, for example from a major fuel company to build such a site, not only is it going to be hard, it could be 18 months or more before such a site would be built. In that time, we could have a thousand green reflector bays, or some of them and some current bays expanded and or improved and maybe a few good bays under construction. We could save a life or at the least, prevent a fatigue crash.

I suggested this and have offered to give a week to audit and put up some green reflectors on the Pacific highway,  but there are of course, some minor issues with that idea. The most urgent need I see and am told, (and did put forward as well) is a changeover facility at Clybucca. The old servo is sitting there and whilst I asked, wrote, emailed and nearly begged RMS to do something as they rebuilt the road, you can see they gave that the same importance as any truck bays, none.

I have been involved in weekly meetings with DOT Victoria, again trying to get them to understand the problems, but they too are hamstrung by those above them who do make the rules etc, but who do not live on the road. We can but try.

The NRFA 6 point plan as put up last blog, has been refined slightly and sent to all pollies and others. We do hope it will gain some support and of course, I have sent it to each of the groups involved above.

In responce to my letter to the Police Commissioners of Australia, I have had a direct reply from the NT Police Commissioner. He virtually said, “We don’t have those problems here”, short and succinct and probably right.

I spoke with both the NSW Police Taskforce last week and the Qld Police Taskforce this week, each contacting me in response to the letter. In summary, both I spoke with as leaders of those groups said, they do have some empathy for us, (the Qld fellow having come from a transport family), but overall, you can’t ask them to allow tolerances against a law. That would be like saying, there is a law but don’t police it too hard. Both agree there is discretion, it should be used where the offence is minor and or non-road safety related, but they too, do not have control of even all their own officers once on the road, let alone all the other Police in their state.

Both again spoke of truckies who have made their own noose, by behaving like a pork chop to start with. The Qld gent quoted an instance where an employer had put in a complaint after a truckie was pinged. With it all video-taped and available, he did review it and found the truckie had been let off other offences and virtually, given the least damaging. More than a fair dealing for both, truckie and officer, yet the truckie did not tell the employer the truth.

I am sure many of you know of the bloke who has been pinged, in theory unfairly, yet were you there and did you get the full story? We too as truckies, have to do the right thing, the same as the Police, but neither group can guarantee, let alone confirm all others do that. So where to from here?

Both Police I spoke with say if we want change, it must be the laws that change. I did explain I am certainly following that path as well with contributions to the HVNL review and Senate inquiry, but the review is still months away from release and we all know such change will take years if it happens at all. I took part and had some specific recommendations put forward for the National Road Safety Inquiry in 2003 and even now, not one of them was actioned, so you will I hope, excuse both my cynicism and lack of patience.

I will now again, target the NHVR, seeking their support for change, their efforts in making that happen and as an interim, I again request, with the information and replies I have had from those closely involved from both sides, the only way for immediate fairness, is for any fines issued by Police under the HVNL, be reviewed by NHVR before being actioned. If any of you have a better solution, I am happy to hear it, If not I welcome your comments and support to see it happen. Till next blog, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

29th August 2021 These troubled times.

Goodaye all, what a week and the next will be very interesting. How are we supposed to keep up when not only do they move the goalposts, they move the bloody field as well. Who makes such decisions without consultation and speaking to the one group most affected, whether it is the Qld border issue, “You need a jab to come in, does it apply to truckies, were not sure we’ll get back to you, no it doesn’t” so why did you scare the life out of many, just for fun!!!

We have complained about Police interpretation of laws and look what happens, some Police decide to interpret the law, that truckstops are restaurants, so we can’t use them and when we fight back, they then close the lot, only to find, “They are wrong!!!” Who will be held accountable and I have asked Glen Sterle and his office this specific question? How can they either individually or then the whole force, go against a National decision made when this happened the first time, that we might be close to human and need a feed, shower, toilet or sit down meal, to be able to keep delivering every single thing they use???????????????????

So much for truckies general health, let alone their mental well-being on the road. We are already being treated like lepers, allowed to carry companies freight so they can make a profit, but not allowed to use their toilets. No wonder people think we want to block the roads, there is without doubt, a lot of concern, frustration and genuine pain and suffering doing the job now, let alone these groups overriding national rules that might just allow us to survive, so we can keep carrying this country.

Then this group of Facebook warriors claims we are all in “it” we are going to block the roads and overthrow the government, but did one of you hear which of our problems they plan to solve, or how, or even a whisper that will even think of us, once they rope the few in and then blame the failure on us? Everything I have seen and heard so far, say this is a group that plan to use us, not to help us at all. And yes, many people say they are behind “us”, but will this blocking the roads actually solve one of our issues, let alone fix them all? NO IT WON’T.

There was the strike affecting Toll drivers, a completely separate issue and now another group of truckies have got to the end of their tether and started another stoppage tomorrow. As above, I have not heard any solutions, but recognise the frustration.

If we could agree on six problems and provide six solutions (remember the government do not even know what the problems are, they don’t live on the road and unless they are saying we are important to show “they care”, I fear they don’t care at all), this would be my list.

  1. We are happy to do our part and be tested every 7 days, nothing less is necessary or fair on us, unless they provide numerous 24/7 testing centres in places we can all access. This must include sites where we can get vaccinations. We were left out from the essential list for so long and it will take time to catch up and trying to keep working, get tested every three days and still have to book and que weeks in advance and lose more time and pay to get vaccinated is not only unjust, but unworkable for some.
  2. We will apply for and carry a national freight permit if required, valid in every state and for a minimum period of 14 days. The states must abide by this, there will be no rule or border changes without industry consultation and without less than two weeks notice.
  3. As now, truckstops must be allowed to operate, we must have access to toilets, showers and facilities if you want us to continue carrying your needs and not get sick or tired trying to comply with multitudes of different rules each day. No facility can refuse us access to a toilet, we will happily wipe down a seat before and after use. If refused or they fail to provide us with such facilities (as they must do under law for their staff) they should be fined. How many of you do not have access to a toilet? Do you really want us to pee and poo in your garden?
  4. There must be a moratorium on non road safety related logbook fines. We are not lawless or above the law, but any fines issued by Police under the HVNL, must be reviewed by NHVR before they will be actioned. We do hope the HVNL review will affect some of these concerns, but it will not solve this for many months and we cannot continue being fined for clerical and minor time errors. The cost to the community of us fighting such onerous fines for little more than a mistake, is not only a waste of taxpayers money, it is not in any way, fair justice.
  5. We require a national road standard, the road to be accepted as our workplace, major crashes investigated and not simply the driver charged first and last. Roads and road repairs must meet that standard or be repaired to that standard within an agreed time frame.
  6. There must be a national truck rest area strategy to provide suitable and sufficient truck rest areas. This to improve our safety and that of other road users, to improve our ability to get good quality sleep as and when needed. In relation to drivers and sleep, there must be consultation on reasonable size sleeper berths. Not more freight, but better places to live and sleep in when on the road.

The above to be done with reference to a panel of road safety, road authority and truck representatives, this will include some of the trucking associations and some drivers and owner drivers and be set up immediately to provide input and fairness.

The top four items are achievable, reasonable and will provide some balance and consistency to allow us to do our job and deliver the needs of the Australian people and will cost the government no upfront cash, but will make trucking safer and fairer.

The last two can be set in motion, the roads will take time and we accept that, but it must be started and committed to and will save lives and money in the future if done properly. The last will take time, but can be done in a cheap interim way, whilst the longer term plan is set up and rolled out.

I don’t think any of this is too much to ask and if we don’t get a fair go, many will go broke and lose all and if not, there will be not only more unrest, there will be tragedies on the road caused by people trying to comply and yet stay safe, fit and capable of doing this job.

I would welcome your views. Thanks Rod.

Categories
Uncategorized

21st August 2021, what a covid mess looks like.

Goodaye all. How many of you live in Australia? Oh sorry, that’s right, we don’t, we live in separate states, yet expect road transport, which not only carries the nation, but delivers it too, to operate with both hands tied behind their backs. Oh yes, when there is no toilet paper on the shelf, we are essential, but why can’t people see it goes so far beyond that. Then again, oh yes, we will finally after having to beg, make you essential so you might be able to get the jab, but we want you to keep working and supplying everything for us, but don’t mind if we make it as hard as possible, change the rules every couple of days, put out statements where people then get told they don’t have a job if you don’t have a jab yet, but where the hell do you find the time and place to park your b-double while you are trying to survive, do tests every three days, and keep carrying the country????????????????????????

How can anyone in government expect our respect, when they treat us as less than second class, change the rules like they change their minds and have people freaking out, because they did not think it through, did not talk to us and did not explain and or give it some thought as to how it would affect someone living in a truck, before scaring and by default blaming us, when all we have done is keep doing the bloody magnificent job we do everyday?

We know there is a virus, we are not all perfect, but human like you and we are trying. Yes there are a few who tried to get across a border, but most have not only gone out of their way to comply, they have bee vilified, told they can’t use toilets and now again, no you can’t eat or shower in a truckstop. Where the hell are we supposed to do it then and how the hell are we supposed to stay fit, healthy, not drive tired, when you keep screwing us over?

No wonder truckies are getting upset. But blocking the highways is not the answer. You will simply be bulldozed off and fined (now that’s a bit of a shock isn’t it?) just like we get fined for everything else, far too much of which has nothing whatsoever to do with road safety. NONE OF US GOES TO WORK TO HAVE A CRASH, TO TAKE A LIFE, LET ALONE ENDANGER OUR OWN AND OR OUR ABILITY TO FEEED OUR FAMILIES THAT WE SEE TOO LITTLE OF, yet that is too often how we are portrayed and treated.

I have said the same thing for many years, if we want things to change, we have to agree what the problems are, offer the government the solutions (because they don’t have a clue what the problems are to start with) and do so as a united group. If all the different sectors (and few other industries have so many groups and beyond that, we are all in trucks from one end of the country to the other, trying to do our job and deliver everything to everyone every day) so how can we meet, agree and present that solution?

I have been in some meetings, raised these issues and each of the state groups and industry associations have done what they can, but few drivers are in associations and so how can those associations truly represent the drivers on the road? And those drivers on the road, don’t have the time, the resources, the money or the ability to get together and agree either. So how do we fix it?

I would like to hear your solutions, because I am getting older and whilst I have not given up, I think we are going backwards in some ways. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

Categories
Uncategorized

August/ 7th July 2021.

It seems I did not post this up, I will find an excuse later, but add it here as it is still so relevant. Cheers Rod.

Goodaye all. How can we ever get a fair go, when we can’t even get a standard border pass and or protocol for state borders now. We explained what the issue is, we can’t all carry another forest worth of permits for each state each week, nor can we comply when you change things overnight.

You know we will do our best to comply, you know we can’t afford hours and hours of delays at borders, yet what has been done to solve this, nothing? If the pollies ran out of toilet paper, maybe then we would get some action and common sense if both formulating, applying and managing such things would get them a clean bum?

Truck lanes at borders will cost nothing, will help flow and give us a chance to deliver that paper and everything else. The states all want to be different, they want to maintain their power base, we understand all that, but why would you make things that much harder to cross borders when we supposedly all live in Australia?

We have come some way to having national transport rules, some will say we still have a long way to go, but at least now we have two sets of rules, one for the east with NHVR and one for the west and north, better than 7 sets.

So then we have the issues of lack of rest areas and even with the Pacific Highway, with millions spent improving it, there was no provision for a change over facility included. We are pushed to be compliant, we struggle to get drivers due to lack of facilities etc and when we set things up so a driver can get in a loaded truck, drive to the half way point, change trucks or trailers, then drive home and have another local driver unload and reload for the next night, so the interstate driver is home in his own bed each day, we need places to change the trucks and or trailers.

We waited 30 years to get one on the Hume at Tarcutta and we needed one 15 years ago on the Pacific, but now it is all four lanes and truly, probably the one of if not the best road in Australia, there is not enough rest areas and no where set up for changeovers. How can this be so? Are we truly that less of a group of workers, that we don’t need toilets or places to sleep or comply than any other working group?

Back to the Churchill Fellowship videos. Now for those of you who enjoy watching trucks go round and round, or spinning up tyres and doing burnouts, this may be something you enjoy. It is not everyday you see prime movers towing caravans with only one intent, but it seems the Poms have a funny sense of humour.

Now I am not making any comments other than, it is a truckshow and such things seem to be enjoyed by the crowds, I had even heard of it before I visited the Convoy in the Park, so it seems they have done it before, but please do not take offence if you are a vanner. I didn’t do it! Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

13th August 2021 Catch up time.

Goodaye all and thanks to all who wished me happy birthday for Wednesday the 4th, just turned 64. I have been slack and hope you will keep faith with me. It is much harder to be relevant when not on the road, but I have kept up with news, events and hear from many still doing the job. I have certainly had more time than normal, but.

I have been trying to do many things and have been at work doing office duty Monday, Wednesday and Friday, was doing physio each Tuesday and Thursday but have now completed the early part of treatment and continue with my twice daily exercises and physio visits once a fortnight.

The surgeon did ring and have a phone hook-up, says he would like to see me once more before Christmas to confirm and feel, all is well. The excellent lady doing the physio reported to him on my progress and last week said my strength is coming back well. The surgeon says the bicep will be to full strength in nine months, (or at least the most it will return to, as it could not be attached all the way up as they shrink once torn off, if left too long) hopefully 85 to 90% of what it was before, but the shoulder will take 12 months to heal to full capacity.

I had to do a medical for my Dangerous Goods License and being over 61, my two year one for my normal MC NSW license and our yearly Trucksafe medical. No one needs or should have to do three medicals in one year and each will now accept the others, as long as they are within 6 months. That is at least a common sense outcome, but it cost $400. I passed and have submitted all the paperwork, to work, EPA and RMS and had to follow up with RMS to make sure they got a copy.

Then I had to get the next extension for my Capacity to work and the doctor I saw, said I wasn’t 20 anymore and should be more careful. Thanks doc. I have been feeling good and am chomping at the bit to get the new truck on the road and back into it. It is built, but a few issues have delayed it, but hope to have them sorted and on the road soon. I spent time on the phone yesterday sorting the new bullbar and lighting to go on it, so it should look good when it hits the road.

There are many supporters and suppliers who are contributing to the new TIV and once it is on the road, there will be further changes. We are seeking a few new things, both to see how they work, but to trial them in a working truck, not just to fit them and walk away, but to do some serious trials for fuel consumption, tyre wear and application and of course, to have something that is right up there with the current technologies and report all this back to those who have and will supply the equipment.

It is one thing to put something on a truck and forget about it, that will not support a case for improvement, you have to test things under real world environments to confirm, or deny, that they work and can supply something better and that it will last. Much of the technology on trucks is hidden, you don’t really see it and even more, if often works without fanfare or obvious impact. The truck travels along and gets the job done, yet all these things behind the scenes can and do both contribute and improve driver safety.

We are all human, we make mistakes. I don’t think AI is better, nor do I think it is anywhere near ready to take over, but if it is set up and operates to help us, then it can do just that. Our roads are not all perfect either, but they are built, designed, repaired and costed by humans, so there are many factors involved in how well they do their job. I have said before we have a large country and area, but a relatively small population, so we simply don’t have a bottomless pit of money to have perfect roads.

But we must get good value, safety and longevity from these assets that we all pay for and they do provide us with the ability to travel, for business and pleasure. There are certainly times when I travel, (really bump and grind down the road thinking, this is not good enough) or think about the issue, are we getting good value and for someone who lives and works on the road, there are times I am certain, we are not. I am not a road engineer, but I have to live with the results and at times, it seems we build at the cheapest cost, yet don’t consider the long term and how then if done badly or to a lesser standard at the start, that the ongoing maintenance will cost far more over the life of the road, let alone will that cheap fix, when it does fail or deform, cost someone their life?

The road is still not recognised as our workplace, if it was, it would have to meet all manner of laws, to keep me and you safe. Those who use and or share it would have to be trained better and governments could suddenly be liable for damages and even deaths and sued accordingly, if they failed to provide us with that “Safe Place of Work”. And that is a can of worms all governments don’t want opened up.

So to finish off, how many of you would agree that if the road is my workplace, it should be built and maintained to the highest possible safety. It is your goods, your clothes, food, fuel, your manufactured products or the supplies you need to make them we are delivering and it is true, TRUCKS DELIVER AUSTRALIA. I would welcome your comments. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

30th July 2021 Covid, trucking and safety.

Goodaye all. To those drivers suffering under covid permits, forms and frustration, I say surely by now, you would think we would have a national plan. We have been told we are essential, (until we need a toilet, then we are a pest to be ignored or told, go somewhere else) we have been then forgotten again, till the next lockdown and people emptied the shelves.

They did not need to of course, but it is a new world we all live in and those people who have been locked at home and or don’t have a job, are and will be suffering for some time to come. We however have been asked to fill in multitudes of forms, permits, carry letters, get tested, then get tested more, then get tested even more again.

I am no disease expert, I am not a health expert, but I do understand trucks and this is where, my mate “The Interstater” and I do agree whole heartedly. Too many who use our services and the majority of those who control them from afar and even worse, every person who simply thinks milk (for example but this applies to every thing and commodity) just falls out of the sky by magic every morning and appears in the shop, do not understand this trucking life.

They have no idea what we give up to see them have their milk etc, etc. Yes it is a job many have chosen, some have fallen into by default, through family business etc, others thought it must be a good job, until they tried it. I have just read another article about the driver shortage in the USA and England seems to be even worse off currently. How many jobs or industries have a turnover rate (so the percentage of employees who they have to replace each year, not new ones, just the existing workforce) of 90% or higher as in the USA?

Now we all know the grass is greener on the other side, they earn more, get better conditions, get extra benefits until of course, you leave your current job and go to work there and it is not as you were told, or thought you had spent all that time checking into. Once you get there, you find it is no better and sometimes even worse, than where you were before. You might have found after awhile, you did not like the boss, or the mechanic or the truck or the location, so you look around for a change or something better.

People are funny aren’t they? But to have every single employee leave in a year is not so critical perhaps if you have two, but what if you employ 1000, or more? This driver shortage has been discussed, disputed, argued over as a beat up and talked about in the USA for years and here too, but not to the same extent. We know the average age of a b-double driver here is nearing 60 and it has only just been confirmed that according to the CEO of the NHVR in his latest industry post, the freight task in Australia is growing faster than the population, perhaps twice as fast and the task here is the 5th largest in the world.

So we might need some more truckies soon, unless of course they can perfect driverless trucks? Till then all we are really asking is a fair go, decent facilities to manage our fatigue and a decent income for the life we live on the road and what we and or families give up, so others can have those things they wish to buy.

In the USA, they had a campaign, “If you don’t want trucks on the road, stop buying stuff” and in the UK when I was there, they had a t-shirt, “If it wasn’t for trucks, you would be cold, naked and hungry” so not only here in Australia, do we struggle to get our message across to those who make the decisions. How do we change that? Many have tried, but it hasn’t changed things enough.

We are not perfect, we make mistakes, but for all my contacts and mates in the industry, we go to work to feed our families and to get home safe each trip. Is that enough reason to ignore our needs, which are the same as most peoples’? I wish I had the answers, or someone did. But I am still keen enough to set up another TIV and commit to that for the next five years. Many are contributing and supplying product and or support etc and I thank them all and will do my bets to not only give them a return on that investment, I hope to save a life or two. When I started all this, I said, “The worst that can happen, is that no one listens, nothing changes and I simply put in a lot of effort and time and money, but if one motorists sees the Truckies Top Ten Tips, one rest area gets built or improved or a truckie uses the green reflector bay when tired, or I get a bit of road fixed and that prevents a crash or a death, then all my efforts, will have been worthwhile.”

I may save one life, I will most likely never know of that or any others, but you must have a purpose and a goal, for you have far too much time on the road thinking and driving for others who will risk your life, thinking of the family you are away from and hoping to get home safely for yet another trip. Please think the same each time you go out on the road and maybe, we will all get home safe. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

18th July Number 2

Goodaye all, sorry for the gap, I had the last one already for last week and the videos would not load, then I got sidetracked just a bit. Much has happened and the ramping up of testing and the lowering of how we are treated in some places, seems to show the bad and then the worst.

I was though invited into a phone hook up Friday, but when first asked, I was led to believe the changes were specifically for Syd/Melb runners, due to the Sydney issue and then the removalists too. However, at the meeting when I asked about Bris/Melb runners, they said “Don’t you go through Sydney?” and some do, but not all. I explained we go through Dubbo, but was then told all of NSW was now considered a hotspot.

So prior to midnight Friday, there was to be details and explanations provided, with the requirement for testing every three days for those truckies entering Victoria. Now there are always two sides to a story. It was emphatically stated and agreed, we as an industry have done a good job, we have not been involved with spreading the virus and have continued to do our jobs. But, they know how many trucks cross the border each night and they are all meant to have permits, yes they are onerous and take time and effort, but that has been why we have had a reasonable run, till they counted the permits issued against the number of trucks.

It would seem, even if you take into account those who may run up and down each night with the permits done as needed, there are far too many not doing that at all. So what do the government do, they say, enough! Now SA has gone even further requiring testing every two days and I do think that is not only difficult without the facilities and the time involved, it is nearly impossible for some.

What can we do? We can get our permits and do our testing and hope that this two week set up with Victoria shows we are not the problem they perceive we might be and it may well revert to the previous set up, but we will have to ensure we keep up our end. Without testing available on the highway and 24 hours a day, how can you get it done without not only impacting your fatigue, but be able to get the job done?

They will not be calling every truck in, this is a soft closure, but if you are caught not complying and can be shown to have had the chance, but could not be bothered, the future may look much worse. Please make the effort, but if you try and cannot comply, then we must have reasons why. Please let me know if you have troubles getting tested, they are saying you will be able to at Kalkallo inbound and Broadford outbound. Now using the weighbridge won’t affect us, but if they take the Kalkallo pads and parking away, that could be a problem.

Similarly, I have had complaints about the loss of parking at Chiltern, and did contact those involved with the meeting and the VTA. This was the reply from the DOT Victoria,

The Chiltern rest area checkpoint is used on a sporadic basis by VicPol and was established at VicPol’s direction approx. 10 days ago.  Its used for light vehicle checks and, as far as I know, not for freight, but we recognise that this does impact on the freight industry as it reduces the number of rest stops available to manage fatigue.  Even when the site is not operational (approx. 3 days a week) the rest area remains closed as we have been asked by VicPol to keep the checkpoint infrastructure in place as they reserve the right to activate it at short notice.

I have replied just now and we will see. The next issue is again, being refused access to toilets etc. Would you all agree, you would be happy to wipe toilets seats before and after use with wipes being provided, rather than told, “You can’t use our toilets”? I do not condone actions that will make things worse, but imagine if pollies in Parliament House and Police on the road were refused access to toilets? I can’t solve the problems, but I do care and will keep trying. Safe Travelling, Rod

Categories
Uncategorized

18th July Number 1

Goodaye all. How can we ever get a fair go, when we can’t even get a standard border pass and or protocol for state borders now. We explained what the issue is, we can’t all carry another forest worth of permits for each state each week, nor can we comply when you change things overnight.

You know we will do our best to comply, you know we can’t afford hours and hours of delays at borders, yet what has been done to solve this, nothing? If the pollies ran out of toilet paper, maybe then we would get some action and common sense if both formulating, applying and managing such things would get them a clean bum?

Truck lanes at borders will cost nothing, will help flow and give us a chance to deliver that paper and everything else. The states all want to be different, they want to maintain their power base, we understand all that, but why would you make things that much harder to cross borders when we supposedly all live in Australia?

We have come some way to having national transport rules, some will say we still have a long way to go, but at least now we have two sets of rules, one for the east with NHVR and one for the west and north, better than 7 sets.

So then we have the issues of lack of rest areas and even with the Pacific Highway, with millions spent improving it, there was no provision for a change over facility included. We are pushed to be compliant, we struggle to get drivers due to lack of facilities etc and when we set things up so a driver can get in a loaded truck, drive to the half way point, change trucks or trailers, then drive home and have another local driver unload and reload for the next night, so the interstate driver is home in his own bed each day, we need places to change the trucks and or trailers.

We waited 30 years to get one on the Hume at Tarcutta and we needed one 15 years ago on the Pacific, but now it is all four lanes and truly, probably the one of if not the best road in Australia, there is not enough rest areas and no where set up for changeovers. How can this be so? Are we truly that less of a group of workers, that we don’t need toilets or places to sleep or comply than any other working group?

Back to the Churchill Fellowship videos. Now for those of you who enjoy watching trucks go round and round, or spinning up tyres and doing burnouts, this may be something you enjoy. It is not everyday you see prime movers towing caravans with only one intent, but it seems the Poms have a funny sense of humour. Now I am not making any comments other than, it is a truckshow and such things seem to be enjoyed by the crowds, I had even heard of it before I visited the Convoy in the Park, so it seems they have done it before, but please do not take offence if you are a vanner. I didn’t do it! Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

30th June 2021.

Goodaye all. Picked up my new 1kg weight from physio and my red band for even more exercises yesterday morning, but all seemingly going well. My doctor is from Sydney, so now have a phone consultation hooked up for next week to discuss further actions and when I can go back to driving. The driving is not the problem in itself, it is the loading and unloading and then even more than that, it is the in and out and pulling yourself up and in and out of the truck all day.

A quick run to Darwin would be fine if someone loaded it for you, but then even with breaks and meals and load checks, even a pee if needed in one of the far apart toilets if you can find one, each time hauling your full weight from the ground up the three steps into the truck, puts your whole weight on the shoulder. Even doing the three points of contact, you then at some stage as you move up, have all your weight on one arm and so, a bit over my 1 kilo limit.

But now I am starting on weights and strength improvement, we should be on the last leg of the road back to the road. I have not missed the hassle, have missed most of the people and interaction, missed my audiobooks, but have got hooked into the Assassins Apprentice series and am now onto book 3 and the second and third are well over 600 pages, but really interesting and entertaining.

The new TIV Kenworth should have come off-line in Melbourne yesterday, but they have had some shortages and I will know soon where it is at. It has to be painted and then have some things fitted in Melbourne, pre-delivery in Wagga Wagga and then to Brisbane to have the rest of the equipment supplied and fitted, so still a way off from the road. Perhaps it will come together in time for my birthday?

It seems many have enjoyed the Churchill Fellowship videos, so will carry on with them. The first shows Taylors Transport who not only were involved with the racing (and I think their bloke won) but had a fleet on display and supplied the two Volvos for people to pay and have a drive. Previously as long as you could reach the pedals, they let you pay and drive, of course with an instructor and on a closed course. But there was a new regime running the show and they were a bit more up on liability, so you had to at least have a car license.

Convoy in the Park, Donington Raceway, England 2018

You will see in the background a Kenworth 900 series with a reasonable bunk. It was one of two, again you could pay and have a drive, but they were only allowed to be registered as bobtail, they could not legally tow a trailer in England, they would never get round many of the places I did visit, but an interview with the owner will follow.

The next video with lovely Sue did cover much of the concerns we all have, car drivers that do not understand trucks. It was a measure of how much the owner of Taylors want things improved, that they would supply the trucks, trailers and drivers for the whole show and then the funds raised went I think to a nominated charity, so a very big effort.

Interview with Sue after her drive in a Taylors Volvo at Convoy in the Park.

 It is a unique opportunity to gain through the Churchill Fellowship system to be able to extend your knowledge, gain information from others overseas and then hopefully use that to help and improve the livers of other Australians. The field of endeavour, the areas covered, from medicine to music, agriculture and operation of facilities and equipment is so diverse, there is little that cannot apply. Previous Churchill Fellows have learnt how to save, improve and enrich lives and I feel very honoured to have been chosen and had the chance to learn. Covid has seriously affected the ability of all to travel and curtailed much of the fellowship visits, but from where I sit, it has and will again, help many Australians in the future.

Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

24th June 2021, a fine outcome.

Goodaye all. Sorry for a late and thence, mid-week post. Another week closer to a full (hopefully but maybe only 90% for the tendon as it had shrunk and they could only reattach it so far up) recovery. I can start weights in two weeks and hope to be ready by the time the new TIV is delivered.

I will offer a large thank you to Highway Advocates for both advice and representing me in court in Dubbo yesterday. I was fined for exceeding 6 hours work in a 6.25 hour period from October last year. I was stopped just coming out of Dubbo by a Highway Patrol officer I had met only once before. At the time I was not given a chance to look and comment, other than told, here it is. I did say I had a tracking device in the truck and he was welcome to check it, but he was not interested in doing so.

When the ticket arrived, I then asked for a review, explaining both that I marked my logbook at midnight at Euroa and again the start of the next day, yes I had made a mistake in not marking a 15 minute break, but I also sent a screenshot of the Teletrac device clearly showing I had a 15 minute break from 11.57PM to 12.12AM. I asked for the ticket to be withdrawn, also detailing the way the logbook forces us to give away our time. We must count work back, so had I started at 8.07 PM and finished at 2.07 AM, I would be required to show 6.25 hours worked, yet had only worked 6 hours.

Now had I worked 10 hours straight, worked 16 hours in a day, or done something really stupid and unsafe, I would expect and accept a fine. We are talking about a possible 5 minute breach at the end of a days work (following which I had an 8 hour break) a driver with a good record trying to do his best and when I asked for the fine to be rescinded, they said, “We cannot rescind the fine” which is crap. They can, but would not. Is the government so needy that they will simply fine anyone for anything, even when it is so minor, not a road safety issue and I not only showed I had simply made a mistake, I had possibly not even committed an offence, but then I could and did, show a third party tamperproof device that confirmed I had a break, there-by nullifying the exceeding 6 hours driving.

Interestingly, the dates on the ticket charging me with breaking the law were incorrect. We could have asked for a dismissal on that basis, but they would simply have sought to amend it. How can I make a 5 or 10 minute mistake and be given a $453 fine, when they can make a two day error and then say, we will just amend it?

NVHR are publicly saying (and I welcome their intent and believe it is genuinely being driven from the top) that they intend to pursue on road enforcement first as education, before punishment. Yes, if you make the same mistake three times, or have a continued bad record and then can be seen to perhaps disregard the law, you deserve and will get a penalty. However, if it is minor, does not affect roads safety and could be an error instead of deliberate deceit, then a warning is far more likely to be a fair response. Am I being a dreamer, do you think we should be punished for every minor error and does that improve road safety?

This is one of the main reasons NRFA endorsed the “Position on Police Policing of HVNL” requesting such powers be removed from Police. If the NHVR are the overarching authority for the HVNL and the Police are not trained to the same level as NHVR inspectors, then they should not be policing the HVNL. We do not have a review process, we have a farce and those who simply do not have to live on the road with the over-zealous and virtually punitive penalties and fines we suffer all too often, for things that have no real road safety benefit or value.

We need someone to help us get a fair go till such times as the NHVR act and change the way we are targeted, punished and abused. The HVNL review may go some way to changing the penalties, giving some flexibility and fairness, but that is still some way off.

Thank you again to the Highway Advocates team, they know transport law, they recognise our issues and on road problems and if you feel you have been wronged and unfairly or incorrectly charged, then contact them and they may be able to help. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.