8th January 2023 Roads and truck rest area value.

Goodaye all, welcome to 2023 and I hope it serves you well. Will be short this week, yes home yesterday after being very concerned where the next southbound overtaking lane is being built in the Pilliga and have emailed Transport for NSW (again) seeking answers.

The failures in the roads seem to be patched at times and at others, completely ignored and left to try and kill us! The Newell is a major highway, yet it does and has not for years, received the funding of others. Yes that has changed and it is having work done, but is the quality there? Are we getting value for the money spent, not from where I sit and bounce and bang up and down the road.

Into Melbourne last week and all the drivers in the rear bump trucks sitting there in the Tulla tunnel for hours on their phones without a worker in site, good value there obviously. Looking forward to seeing who will be on the rest area steering committee, should be announced this month for the first meeting in February. Thanks to those who have offered comments and suggestions to me directly and will try and include them, but there will and must be, wide consultation with drivers to not only show I or someone else did not pick a site they want fixed alone.

There must also be work done outside of simply more rest areas. One mate had a go at me some time ago, saying the caravanners all loved me, because every time I got a new or improved truck bay, they got somewhere new to park. Another fellow believes the signage for trucks is not clear enough, what is a truck and is a truck bay for trucks only, or simply saying trucks can fit.

Why is it that all car bays, mostly with no truck signs, have all the toilets tables and chairs and shade? If that, then why can’t we at the very least have parking to be able to walk in and use them. We must have a National Truck Rest area Strategy, where no section of road over 25 which has major work, can’t be dome without consultation for truck rest areas. No single truck rest area to be closed, removed or reduced, without same and replacement spaces. Better use of stockpile sites, industrial areas etc. I have raised these issues in early discussions before the entry process was even decided, but it will be a group of associations and drivers and I look forwards to working with them all.

Off to Wagga to unload in the morning and hightail it into Melbourne to try and get loaded tomorrow afternoon. Safe Travelling till next week, cheers Rod.


31st December 2022 A TRUCKING Good (Late went to the fireworks) New Year.

Goodaye all, Christmas for lunch at the Zoo with most of family, out Boxing Day, one son came all the way from Tassie, last son to arrive managed to get here Boxing Day morning for quick visit after some delays, so all 7 home for a short time, been awhile since all home together. Hugs and photos and off to work.

Had put my hand up to work and would have liked more time with the out of town sons who came home, but had offered and so 5,400 k’s in five days, Dubbo to Port Augusta, drop dog trailer and single to Alice Springs, two containers off, bugger, Hall of Fame closed, will get there to visit one day, back to Port to pick up 2nd trailer and deliver drill rig near Adelaide and reload for home, back today.

Did a quick TikTok from a parking bay south of Alice, need to make some calls re rest areas etc, marked two green reflector bays, but left my tin on the back before Wilcannia and lost my extras, so could not mark anymore. Road very quiet, a TRUCKING Good New Year to all and especially those still on the road. Off to watch fireworks in Dubbo and will see you all next year. Safe Travelling, Rod.


26th December 2022 Merry Christmas and a TRUCKING Good New Year.

Goodaye all, hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you all a TRUCKING Good New Year. Got home Friday had a soft drink and burger with the RPT crew, upset the tyre fitter a bit as found four tyres for him to change and had to move the adblue tank back a bit now I have the 385 Michelin Multis on the front, but put new mudflaps on when I got home and had a family day yesterday. Soon off in a roadtrain to Port Augusta then north. Take care all and watch out for the Xmas road warriors. Cheers Rod.


18th December 2022 Merry Christmas and a TRUCKING Good New Year to all.

Goodaye all, well home since Friday, but out tomorrow to Newcastle, double split to deliver Monday morning and then load for Mackay for Wednesday delivery, so might be home for Friday or Saturday. Did one radio interview for Christmas with my mate Mark from Yass FM Friday afternoon, a good half hour chat and have ABC Central West Monday and 2DU Dubbo Tuesday and will try for a couple more.

I have seen some Xmas messages from others in the media and hope people do listen and take heed. We like so many others, have work coming out of our ears and it is likely I will be back on the road Boxing Day, but will know next week. The one thing this means to all those who will have a good Christmas, is, “IT ALL CAME ON TRUCKS” and all we ask is for a bit of empathy and that you all drive as though those in the vehicles around you, are others in your family.

You would not cut off, abuse or risk your parents, your children or other family would you? So if you drive that way all the time, as though every vehicle around you has a member of your own family in it, then more people will make it home safe each day. Too often it seems we are all in a hurry, yes I too do at times want to be somewhere, but often the difference is I have not just the boss and the customer to please, the authorities will not simply give me a break and let me off if I need an extra ten minutes time to get to a decent place for a feed, a shower or a decent sleep. They will say tough, you are a professional driver and should have expected all the delays and idiots and roadworks and caravans and everything else and fine me merrily.

There is no doubt at times you cannot argue against road safety and I don’t mean when there is a real and perceived risk on the road, but some roadworks speed limits, distances and signage need to be both more realistic and truly reflect the risk. Two kilometres of 40 k zone when there is a culvert off the roadway being improved, but without anyone even on site, is not the same risk as 10 blokes working on the road fixing potholes. We must find the happy medium, yes protect roadworkers, but don’t simply put up signs (or simply never take the things down even when there is no one working there and the work is off the actual roadway) and slow traffic seemingly for the fun of it because you can.

That is when people ignore the signs. In the last week, I have seen both ends of the spectrum, signs and speedlimits way over the top and then come round a corner to find traffic stopped with very little warning and really, insufficient notice for fully loaded trucks at highway speeds. Even the rough surface signs are either used when the road they sign is not as bad as the bit before or after, or it is bloody dangerous. Maybe we need “REALLY this one is rough” signs too?

So to all on the road, have a terrific and Merry Christmas, a TRUCKING Good New Year and whilst I may well “speak” to you before then, it will depend on how much time at home over the short break. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


12th December 2022

Goodaye all, so Orange on Monday morning was fun, “a” trailer in after dropping the “b” and back and forth on the phone, mostly on mute but able to listen and comment where needed, during most of the 90 minute meeting re rest areas with Transport for NSW. Two other NRFA members, plus some other industry people involved and I will say it is good to have them invite us, to have listened to the input and comments from two previous meetings I have taken part in and that there is much work planned and with this input, I do hope it will be worth the effort and wait.

Over to Forbes to load and through the village of Eugowra, what a terrible impact the floods had there, according to the radio, 80% of homes affected and as you travel towards there, you can see debris well over 2 metres up in trees in places. So many have been affected in so many places. Load and then into Melbourne and the detour for the Newell south of Forbes through Grenfell is as bad as the road from Eugowra and you wonder how long it will last?

Into Melbourne, unload and have a night off so could get the truck and trailers wheel aligned Wednesday morning, did an interview with Simon from Australian Truck Radio and another with Caravanning Qld towards some possible things in the future, then pick up truck and trailers and load and except for the more than normal traffic delays outbound, nothing else special, got the truck washed at King of the Road truckwash in Lavington, the first time they have seen the new truck and RPT 50 year trailers and they did a terrific job. Pushed through to Dubbo, only to have it shower when nearly there, damn, though it is cleaner still than it was.

Had plans for a few jobs on the trailers, before I left for Moura and Biloela but then new plans, leave my trailers and take another set to Brissie, did a delivery to a major DC and only waited an hour and a half, but had brekkie etc, back to the yard, hook up to another b trailer, out to Gatton, drop that b and pick up a b double, so a b triple home. Back into Dubbo Saturday morning, cleaned the turntable, trying to get a greasless for the b trailer, and home for another shot at the yard and watering etc.

But just sent an email to a number of people at Transport for NSW with some concerns, will see how that goes next week. Thought I would finish this Sunday morning and then send it, along with me off to work. But the power went out, (I believe it came back on after 3PM) I had to get on the road to Moura and then was going to finish it last night, but didn’t pull up till 1AM at Isla Gorge, so today it is, with me now back at Charlton. So that will do for another week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


4th December A visit to Dubbo

Goodaye all, short and sweet, loaded Townsville Thursday, down through the centre and home Saturday morning, couple of tyres and a quick truck service, then home and into work there to recover the yard etc. Finished late Saturday night, more today and off to Orange tonight to unload in the morning and take part in a phone hook up with Tpt for NSW on rest areas. Will be applying to be part of the Federal Funding for truck Rest Areas Steering Committee later this week.

Been awhile since I have been down from Charters Towers to Clermont, the first bit, red road is good, then it becomes narrow and in places, even narrower than many, but whilst the surface is rough in places, there weren’t anywhere near the number of holes and failures as nearly everywhere else I have been.

So done my column, blog now, then audiobooks page, one on the convoy, some friend requests, a video etc and still much to do, maybe next week-end will get to visit again.

Have had tea, now a shower, pack truck, out to yard and fuel and hook up and of to Orange to play, split the trailers to unload. The joys of trucking. Till next week, safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


27th November Back in Mackay.

Goodaye all, well back in Mackay again, got in last night for a 35 hour break till I can unload Monday. Been a big week from the convoy last week, loading in Melbourne Monday with the wind and the curtains out level with the roof (not good for a perfect shoulder let alone a repaired one) but got to move up and finish loading with less wind. Then the long way round to Dubbo, that road across form the Hume is bad just like many others, the unsigned craters the worst, trying to pull up enough not to do damage, so on the brakes hard regularly in the night.

Grease the back turntable, had to adda couple of pallets and that delay (no good deed goes unpunished) meant when I rang to say an hour from Moree, sorry will be gone so night off and unload in morning. Had planned to be reloaded and out on the farm for Tuesday delivery, first of four loads. We had picked up the loads, but been unable to deliver and rain delayed need as well. However, Tuesday morn unload and reload and away.

Had an offer to follow another fellow in a ute to the farm, he thought there may be a shortcut, but we went all the way round first with about 10 k of dirt to the airstrip and unloading point. Unloaded with the crop dusters flat out up and down and went out the shortcut, all good. Funny that the dirt, yes with a soft spot and a couple of small humps for pipes etc, was still better than much of the first 50 k westbound from Moree and even much better than the hundreds of holes, a couple of serious failures and the myriad of trenches, craters and bumps on the bitumen road?

Two trips done each day, dropped plenty of dust each trip back and then told off to Newcastle to loads for up here. Didn’t quite make it, would love to have asked the yellow and orange truck was there a truck in front when he parked, because where he was you could only ift one truck in the spot just pats the BP at Murrurundi, so went into the next and nearly lost the truck and trailers in the hole. Full of stinking mud etc and been there for awhile, but managed to claw out and park on good ground, but then had to be nearly on the road, any further back and would have been bogged!

Off to the castle and rang the Murrurundi council, but got Singleton, explained the issue ansd the lady said she would be back to me by close of business that day. I was impressed, but a little doubtful. But true to her word, she rang me back about 3.30, telling me it is the responsibility of Tpt for NSW as it is on the highway. She had spoken with them and it was programmed for fixing before Xmas, but with all the gear out west, it may not get done.

She said it had been an ongoing issue, read back and forth for months to get something done, but a reminder to Tpt would not hurt. I did suggest though that a load of fill in there if it was going to be some time, would help and might lessen the severity of the issue. On the phone to Tpt NSW on 131700, round and round for a bit, then lost the call. How many of you have found phone service worse now? So rang again, explained again and had a bloke who said he might know someone who could help. Let’s hope and if you see it fixed, let me know.

No to compare that with the work of the road crew I had ben watching west of Moree may well be unfair. It must be a bugger of a job and fairly daunting at the moment, take a load of cold hotmix (mmm, wonder how well that will work when thrown in a hole?) enough for a days work and when you need about 30 loads, see how far it will go. Now I did this round trip 4 times in two days and yes, some holes were filled, but it looked like fill two miss five, fill two miss a crater, fill two and miss 10 was the plan.  No womper stomper or roller, maybe tamp with the foot or roll with the truck, but will they last a week, what value are we getting?  Again, not a job I want, but who makes suer we get some value from the effort?

I truly think we need some better oversight of road funding money. It is our lives on the road, yes the odd car might blow a tyre or break a rim, but not only do our trucks cop a flogging, so do we and we will still be blamed for breaking the road when it was not built or fixed properly in the first place. What do you think? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


20th November 2022

Goodaye all, just arrived in Melbourne, from Mackay, but managed to take part and visit for the Goulburn Convoy for Kids. It seems to have been a big week-end with I believe two other truck events on and unfortunately, these are often the only times we get any good press. The organisation and planning that goes on well before and during such events, is all too often unseen and unsung by those who simply take part.

Yes drivers and sometimes their families give up their rare free time to take part, often spending hours making the trucks look good, but unless we get the public in to such events, we are too often simply preaching to the converted. I still think we missed the one chance we may ever get during covid, to both be recognised and put our views and needs forward, because when the shelves were empty, suddenly the public realised they needed trucks. We were treated badly in so many ways, yet still expected to deliver everything to everyone.

The NRFA put out a six point plan, yes some covid stuff, but other long standing issues and we asked all other associations to back it. A couple did by phone and email, but none came out and helped push it and then of course, the shelves were refilled, still some shortages, but we were then forgotten again and remain that way now. We missed a big chance, but we as those still on the road really needed our associations to stand up for us and those who were still working simply can’t do it alone.

But back to Goulburn, it was I believe a record turnout for them, trucks were lined up to the top of Governors Hill and nearly filled the showground track, but then many of the drivers left soon after and at 5.30, I was the last truck on the track when I left. There was still a band and it did rain a bit, but I think the organisers, all the public, families and kids who attended seemed to get good value and enjoy the show. I would have liked to see some more interaction between the trucks, drivers and public and will work on how that might happen, but well done to all involved, organisers, supporters and participants.

The roads and rain have played havoc with many people’s lives and homes, but the roads have not coped and the damage to them and then the cost and increased damage and maintenance to every truck on the road, let alone the added time, distance and fuel seems to be ignored by all except for those who have to pay for it. Not as important if you have lost your home, but our lives on the road are not valued very highly by anyone other than us it seems at times and this must change.

There is still so much to fix to have every driver safe, well paid and with a life that will never be the same as those who can be home each night or even work from home, but if we don’t or won’t help one another, who else will. I would like you to think on this. The good old days, weren’t that good except in memories and then you forget all the bad stuff, but we can improve the future, but only if we try and we work together. How to get you all involve3d to do this is the big question. Yes I would live to see every truckie do more, or just do one thing to make things better, but that is only likely to happen in my dreams. What can you do, what will you do, to help? Let me know. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


13th November 2022

Goodaye all, well 14 hours home in my first three weeks back on the road. Visited last Wednesday night, back to work Thursday morning with a big plan and nearly had it all undone by a “T” piece. Had an airbag replaced, off on the plan and got loaded in Parkes, then smelt something burning and found link trailer bags flat. Found the leak and rang work, will find a bit and send someone, then had an offer from a young lady in the industry who got their mechanic out, but they did not have the right fitting and my plan all nearly fell to bits.

I wanted to be in Mackay (yes again for the week-end) so I could attend a Central Qld Heavy Vehicle Forum on Wednesday. Then I had plans to be home for the dentist Saturday, (yes done) then Monday, visit a doctor, get the trailers relined, some work on the truck and so far so good. The time I lost for the T piece in the end meant I had to fit in a break, so to be still able to unload, get reloaded, get to Mackay for 24 hour break etc. Got there and found there was another truck in front of me, but ended up loading out Monday and again Tuesday to be back Tuesday evening for a shower and bed before the event.

Yes it was ambitious to plan so much and so far ahead, what the hell was I thinking and to have it all nearly brought undone by an air leak, no one else would understand. But by a bit of an effort, it worked. The event in Mackay went well, I hope it will have some effects and will pursue in the future. I do think this went well, could see some change for the future and thank the organisers for the invite. Thanks also to all others who attended, there was one other driver and many government bodies who I hope will act. You never know if you never go, but if you don’t, you certainly will not be heard.

Got loaded Thursday and even then on the way home managed to attend the Transport for NSW Regional Freight Forum in Narrabri Friday (having missed the Dubbo one last week). My EWD kept me legal and on time, but I had to use all my hours on a couple of days and having that, meant no hours stolen by the stupid rounding rules that take our time and refuse to consider that loss and it ramifications.

Had a couple of drivers call me up for various reasons, mostly good, some off to court, some wanting things fixed etc. I keep trying, but there is only one of me and until you all join the NRFAS and help, it is a slow and arduous process to get anything fixed. Some light at the end of the Tpt for NSW tunnel, I was able to raise a list of issues, hope some have even been already looked at, some road issues north of Moree, some recognition of my efforts re rest areas and some further inclusion of others to see that start to improve.

A bit late, had to help a daughter and now to bed to complete tomorrows tasks and get to work in the evening if all goes well. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


6th November 2022 Back in sunny Mackay for a HV Road Safety Forum

Goodaye all, back in sunny Mackay this morning to unload tomorrow, possibly reload and do a Tuesday delivery then attend and speak at a Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Forum here on Wednesday. Then I load Thursday in Rockhampton and home. Floods tried to delay me on the way home last week, but I just beat them closing the road. We all make plans, sometimes you wonder if it is worth it, but “If you fail to Plan, you plan to fail” as the saying goes.

Floods etc are hard to plan for and it seems airline fittings letting go after getting a new air bag can be much more an issue. That fitting caused me a lot of grief, lost sleep and concern on whether I would be able to achieve all the stuff I had planned for the next week plus. I was invited to attend this forum months ago just after my shoulder surgery. As we run up here a bit, I thought, instead of losing days off and flying about (and from Dubbo it would have been at least three flights each way) I thought I would try and sort it with work in mind. Now it will still cost me and my family lost income, work will lose a bit too, but less than if I had taken the time off to attend which would have ended up three days or more and being in the middle of the week up here, possibly a full week near lost.

The federal funding for truck rest areas is a leap and a good one, but we are not only coming from such a low base, we are years behind and much has been done wrong and money wasted. I travelled out the Peak downs Highway last week, the Leichardt, Dawson, Fitzroy Development Road and Newell to get home and then the Pacific and the Bruce on the way up. Stopping Bays!!!!! Who designs, decides where they go and why are there ten in a row and then nothing for hundreds of k. Out of Hay, into Roma, north from Emerald, someone has made an effort to put them in. But without the green reflectors, the ones in Central Qld don’t exist at night and with no prior warning, aren’t much better in the day.

When the Pacific Highway was first opened from Newcastle, I lodged a complaint that the Stopping Bays there all had long black skidmarks, as trucks had tried to stop at the last minute. On the Peak Downs Highway, west of Nebo, most are at the bottom of a hill, similar on the Pacific now, but even worse, many are round corners. How can you design and build a “road safety” feature that completely ignores trucks? Some of these sites are round blind corners. A fully loaded semi, let alone a b-double, will pull out at a few kilometres an hour and take some time to accelerate, yet the highway traffic will come round the corner and find them barely moving, is that safe?

On the Bruce there are currently many worksites, yet I did not see one of them that will include a truck rest area, let alone Stopping Bays. There is no shoulder and very few safe places to pull off the road from Childers north, there are big gaps and lots of traffic and whether you hit a roo, need a pee or are simply tired and need to stop or get out and walk around the truck to get to the next formal site, good luck. There are a number of sites (and some stockpile sites too) that would suit marking with green reflectors and the couple that are marked have been there for a long time, but TMR have done little to change things since I complained well over 15 years ago when I was running up here in tankers.

Last week when I was up here, I helped another driver find his phone lost in the truck and then borrowed his bit set to fit these. Having seen them before (and you can get them powder coated as well, but as shown are $460 plus GST a set from Warwick Qld and you can phone on 0432176366. They make good use of the space and are worth the money and fit straight on.

Just for fun, old mate had been and done his washing, the small machine at the BP was not up to the task and he had to go to the laundromat, but this clothesline worked well.

Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.