13th January 2018. Rest Areas.

Goodaye all. This is rest areas month. We do not have enough suitable and sufficient rest areas for trucks. Yes there is a need for cars and caravans etc as well, but a car can safely pull up on most road shoulders and vanners have the option of a caravan park or even a motel. Trucks are not legally allowed to park in certain areas, no one wants them near their space, (but they want the goods they deliver) and you can’t simply park up to 68 tonne of b-double on the road shoulder and go to bed as you need or may be legally required to comply with hours laws.

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) did a study some years ago and it was found that not one of our major highways met the minimum standards for truck rest areas and there are more trucks, more cars and caravans on the road now. We have lost many minor sites, where someone thinks that is no good or unsafe, but we are never consulted nor I believe considered. There is no other group that live in these sites on the road and that are subject to such harsh penalties, if we do not comply with laws, designed and policed by others, who do not have to live by them.

These people have control over when they go to sleep and work, they have toilet facilities at home and at work, they have shade and food within their reach most of the day and we DO NOT. There are hundreds of stockpile sites where road crews keep materials and these sites often have shade and good hard stand ground, yet we cannot work together to utilise those sites. When new roads are built, the old road could very often be used for a truck bay at little or no extra cost, yet that doesn’t happen as much as it should either.

There is a deviation just completed south of Peak Hill at Trewilga on the Newell Highway. When the work was started, I rang and asked about getting one area as a truck parking bay. The work has just been completed and whilst I have rang and spoken to people during the works, every one of 5 separate areas we could have had at little or no cost has been torn up and I don’t mean closed, I mean completely destroyed, including good old road sections and other spaces I have been told we cannot have.

Toilets and shade and the design of truck parking bays is crucial to getting good sleep on the road and yet we are simply just given a bit of dirt too often. Then when we get good new facilities, if they are not designed to allow separation from other trucks, which then park less than a metre either side of you and then stop and start and slam the door when they only want a 15 minute break and you are trying to have a required 7 hour continuous break, so how do you get that? They pull down all the trees, so no shade and then the cars and caravans come in as well.

We released a video about sharing rest areas on please have a look and let me know what you think. We as truckies do not want tired car and or caravan drivers on the road, but we do not have the options you do and we do get fined huge amounts if we don’t comply. Road authorities say the biggest cost of rest areas is firstly the deceleration and acceleration lanes on major roads and then the upkeep or maintenance. So if we combine the facilities we all need, we should have more and better rest areas for less cost, than if we had separate ones for cars and trucks.

Think about this. How many cars do you see asleep in car only rest areas at night (where trucks are excluded by signs and or design) which have toilets and tables and chairs and shade that we cannot use at all, let alone at night and yet we are the ones required by law to sleep in such areas.

I welcome new truck rest area guidelines being currently developed that will hopefully see more understanding of our needs and the development then of better designs that will help us to get good sleep, we need shade and separation space and clean toilets too. I hope we can then get more suitable rest areas built for all road users, but we have a long way to go. What is your experience in road rest areas? I would welcome your thoughts. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


7th January 2018.

Goodaye all. How many of you travel the highways? Now a trip to see family on the highway does count, but how many of you do it each week? That is my job and the job of interstate or long distance truck drivers the world over. They leave their home and family to help you feed and clothe yours. They are in charge of and responsible for the truck and or trailers, in my case replacement value of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle would be well in excess of $650,000. Then you could have a load of chemical, or a big machine for the mines worth from half a million up.

So we are talking serious money in my charge. Then to make it earn its keep, I have to drive it. On our less than perfect, but yes, better than the good old days roads, but now I am in a bigger, longer and heavier combination and there are many more cars and caravans on the road. Then I have to be compliant with all the laws of each state I travel in, keep the customer, the boss, the police, the road authorities, the other motorists, the public and from your perspective, but certainly not mine, lastly my family happy.

Now if you can do that, that is a good start, but there is much more to the task. I have to fill in my logbook and be compliant with all the laws on time on the road, the size of the vehicle and what roads it can travel on, where I can legally park, try and find good food and or a rest area when I need one to safely manage my fatigue and of course, I have all those listed above I am trying to keep happy, telling me how to do it for their benefit or because they know better than me. Could they (or would they) do the job, of course not, it is too hard a life. Why would they want to live in a truck and deal with motorists who are not taught to deal with them?

How many of you have seen statistics listing the involvement of trucks in crashes? How often is the truck and or the truckie, made out to be the bad guy? Mostly. Too often any crash involving a truck, (often even if it only has a ute and a tiny local truck) it is deemed a truck crash, which implies guilt by default. It is not a crash involving a truck, it is a truck crash and yes, too often people die and worse, often the driver of the smaller vehicle. Yet if you look at the kilometres we do in a year and the fact, that the vast majority of fatal crashes between cars and trucks, are the fault of the car driver, we are not always the bad guy. Yet that is too often how we are unfairly portrayed.

We are not all perfect, we are human and we make mistakes, but my view generally is that all truckies go to work with one thing in mind and that is to get home to a family they see too little of. I had Mr Brendon Nelson do a trip with me when he was the Leader of the Federal Opposition, he even slept in the top bunk of the truck, perhaps a real and genuine enough person to have made a good Prime Minister, but maybe too nice a bloke for the job, for other people. He made a comment during the trip, that it must be hard to run a family by phone.

Yes we can talk to family better now than we could in the past, but I am sure many will agree, it is not the same as being there and if you are away more than home, not only does it put enormous pressure on your partner, it puts more on your children and your family as a whole and far too often, such families cannot survive it.

Continuing our song theme from last week, how many of you have heard John Williamson’s “A Truckie’s Wife”? One of the lines is “He’s more like an uncle-comes home with ice-creams and toys” and I would hope many of you will have a listen to the song and reply back to me. If you think there is a song that recognises truckies, their wifes’ and or their lives, I would like to know your thoughts. Maybe I will have to write one?

It will certainly have the line that “We go to work to get home safely, to a family we see too little of”. Travel safe in 2018, have a little bit of empathy for truckies on the road, give us some room to manoeuvre our larger vehicles and if you respect the size and weight of trucks, you will improve road safety for all. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


31/12/2017 A TRUCKING GOOD NEW YEAR to all. Looking Forward, Looking Back.

Goodaye all. How many of you recognise the song name? Slim Dusty is an Australian legend and made over 100 albums and one of the last was “Looking Forward, Looking Back” and the title song was the same. Not a bad idea at this time of year, would you not agree?

We must look back at what we have done, learn from our mistakes and seek to improve and look forward to what we are yet to, but can, achieve. I do believe in goal setting, though not to the degree that it rules my life. I look forward, I do some planning and in doing that, I do look back to what worked, what didn’t, what I learnt and what I can do better.

I would like to thank all who have helped and or contributed to the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) and what it has achieved. It is still like peeing in the ocean and expecting the level to rise, it is a small part of a large industry and will never fix all the problems, but it is my attempt to do something, rather that just sit and moan and expect someone else to do it for me.

Without the help and contributions of all those who assist, it would not exist and my dream would never have seen the light of day. I look back to events attended, things I have contributed to, issues I have tried to improve and or at the least, be part of and I look forward to the next TIV.

In February in will be asking for more support from any who would like to help. I can only do so much as an employed driver and my hope is to have a truck and trailers supplied so I can work for two weeks and generate enough income to feed my family and pay my bills and have two weeks to work for the road transport industry, attending events, taking people for rides in the truck and contributing to industry issues in a bigger way than I can now. I would welcome any who might want to consider contributing to give it some thought till then.

January will be rest areas month. I am planning to have articles in all industry press seeking more rest areas, an agreement from all road authorities that no truck rest areas, informal or otherwise, will be closed without replacements being built FIRST, not later, as we all know how hard it is to get something done later when it is not important to that person in the first place. We continue to have one shut here and one shut there by different groups or districts and they say, it is only one spot. But when ten different places are closed and nothing is replaced, we continue to fall behind in the number and quality of the truck rest areas we need NOW!

Please keep an eye out for submissions being called soon for comment on the new national rest areas guidelines and are you interested in and or contributing to the call for submissions from the NHVR re Electronic Work Diaries currently? There is also funding available from the NHVR and Federal Government for Heavy Vehicle Safety Projects, so if you have any good ideas, give that a go as well.

Kirsty the new editor at Big Rigs, did a trip with me from Brisbane to Dubbo last week. She has agreed to fill out a TIV riders form and to support my rest areas and TIV requests over the next couple of months and I have spoken with Tim Giles at Diesel Magazine as well and would welcome any suggestions or other avenues to push these issues forward.

So, thanks to all of you who read this, who have commented and or passed it on. I hope 2017 has ben good to you and if not, hope even more, that 2018 will be. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


25th December 2017 Merry Christmas.

Goodaye all. Just a short note as it has been a long day and I am about to go to bed to get up for Christmas Day. Over my life I have been very lucky to enjoy most Christmas’ with family. As a child with Mum and Dad and my two sisters till I was 15 and my Mum left home and life changed. Then there was Dad and I and my sisters till they were taken by Mum. In the scheme of things, I had a reasonable childhood, got smacked a few times, warned a few more and never really did anything seriously bad.

My luck continued when I met my wife and we have had 7 wonderful children, though there have been tough times and this job puts enormous pressure on partners, children and relationships generally. Too many drivers I know have lost one or more families because of this job. There are many drivers who will still be on the road and or alone at this time of year and whilst I cannot prevent or change that, I would ask that those of us who are better off, at the very least, recognise the life truckies lead so that we can have our Christmas feed, the presents etc and the time off, they may not enjoy.

So in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas for this year, I ask only that you have some empathy for those on the road, that you recognise what we contribute to your way of life, that you endeavour to share the road with us and that you make every effort to get home safely to whatever family you may have and that if you can’t, no matter what the issues, that you tell them you love them, because it will be too late when they are gone.

Thank you for your interest and reading and comments. I hope I can continue to offer a view from the truckies seat and perspective, that will occasionally entertain and more often, educate and help all those on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.



10th December. The K200 returns.

Goodaye all. The TIV K200 reached about 1.3 million kilometres two weeks ago. The Cummins EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Euro 5 motor has been replaced with another. What do you think such an engine is worth? Well over $60,000 just to buy, then you have the removal of the old and the fitting of the new. What do you think a new K200 is worth? Well over $380,000 to replace this one as it stands, with all the extras fitted and supplied by those who support the TIV, on top of the truck itself.

You must agree we are talking large sums of money for most people. When you consider the cost of the whole TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle including the two trailers will then take the cost of the unit to above $700,000, no wonder I cannot get someone to give me one to do this fulltime. Anyone who is keen, please email me.

Trucks are seen by many as either a hindrance on the road, or a hazard, particularly when you hear about truck crashes and blitzes, yet if you look at the figures fairly, instead of going off the percentage of trucks versus cars simply by numbers and look at distance travelled, then the figures do a complete reversal. Most interstate truckies do 200,000 kilometres per year or more depending on the job they do. How many of you do that amount of travel?

In 5 years, that is one million kilometres travelled on our less than perfect roads, sharing those roads with many who are not taught to share them with us. Hitting all those potholes, culverts and road deformities which not only impact into the truck causing wear and tear, increasing maintenance costs, they impact into the driver and then, back into the road. Can you truly imagine that. Living in a 2m by 1m box, bouncing up and down the highways, trying to find a good place for a feed, a shower, a toilet and then, a place to sleep. Many of our rest areas have little or no shade and if we all drove mostly at night, how do we sleep in the day?

There are many worse jobs, but I feel there are few who really understand what we give up for you to have your food, your clothes and your fuel. It is a lonely life, hard on families and not for all. But it must be done and it must be done with the aim of getting home safely. We do not go to work to crash, we go to work to feed our families, even if we do not get to see them enough and we go to work to deliver for Australia.

Next week I will add some photos of where I live up to 6 days a week and some of the facilities I use. I would ask all of you to really give some thought to this life. We do not want Gold Plated toilets and showers every 50 kilometres, but we do need more rest areas, better facilities and shade and the occasional toilet would be nice and then we need good truck stops to get good meals at. With todays life of fast food, you might think it good to be on the road and eating out each night, but believe me, it is not good for your health, your pocket or your life, if you do not make the effort to control what you eat.

You all have the choice of going to a supermarket, probably a choice of more than one, but in the roughly 1800 kilometres between Melbourne and Brisbane I travel each week, there are three that if I am really lucky, I might get a park near them to do my shopping. Just imagine parking a 26 metre long vehicle at your favourite shopping centre, good luck. All we ask, is for some education of motorists about sharing the road with trucks, good safe roads, reasonable rest areas so we can safely mange our fatigue and a little bit of recognition for and empathy of the job we do. Would that be a fair request? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


3rd December 2017 Blogging?

Goodaye all. I must admit I do not read many other blogs, there is not enough time. But I would welcome any suggestions. I am starting to get into planning my Churchill Fellowship trip for next year and that was the aim of this blog initially, to have it in place before I left, to disseminate info during the trip to those interested and to help with my report after the trip. My local paper, the Australasian College of Road Safety and Owner Driver have all shown interest in what I do during the trip and this blog seemed to me, the best way to do that.

Like anything it takes time to get it going, both for me as the writer to gain not just the ability, but the feel for those who will read it. My column in Owner Driver is mainly for and read by drivers with a few others, where here, over time, I hope to get to a wider and different audience. It has been my view and has been extolled by many others over time, that in Owner Driver, I am preaching to the converted, those on the road and that there is a much bigger need to get to a wider public audience with our issues.

The TIV K200 has a new engine fitted, the old block was beyond repair and now the list of other bits will hopefully be addressed, the seat repaired with new rollers etc. I have certainly missed it the last two weeks (thanks to Calvin for the loan of a frig from my last blog post), having all my bits and pieces, the daily things you use, the bed, curtains and Icepack, let alone the other extras. One thing was immediate in difference. The lack of pressure from not having the Electronic Work Diary (EWD).

I still have to fill in my logbook and comply and all the cameras and inspections mean you cannot fudge it much anyway, but I have read reports and spoken to others who use them as a company tool as well for compliance and they have said, from the minute you start, you are running to meet the clock. I have had a working EWD for over two years, though they are not yet legally recognised. I was on the EWD Advisory panel, the only full time driver involved and only because I badgered them as soon as I heard such a panel was being convened.

I wanted to make sure drivers got a look and were heard before it became legislation and we all know how hard it is to have it changed before it becomes law, let alone once it is law. I have argued you cannot introduce an EWD under the current rules and regs, which see work and rest in 15 minute increments. The road authorities say that 1 minute work is 15 minutes work, but won”t recognise anything less than 15 minutes as rest and this can see you lose time in a day, that you cannot recover and the EWD just exacerbates that. For those of you who work to a time clock, imagine having to record every change, where and when you did it for every minute you work with little flexibility.

This is all we are asking, for some recognition and flexibility in that, not all drivers and often, not all jobs and days, are the same in this job. According to some authority staff, if I stop at 3.01 then I cannot record 15 minutes rest until 3.30, so I could lose 14 minutes. Now if my clock is one minute slow, and that is the time I use all the time, then I would not lose that 14 minutes, but an EWD takes away that flexibility completely. Yes it can help you manage your time, but it can be the biggest stress to comply and the penalties are severe. Not only that, there are people now who think having EWDs in every truck will stop all truck crashes. What rot, but they will push that barrow and do not care, because they will not be monitored or punished for being 10 minutes over time that night.

The fact that the majority of truck/car fatal crashes are caused by the car (see the latest NTI crash stats report which quotes 93% car at fault in such crashes in which they were the insurer) and what will an EWD do to stop that? Absolutely nothing, but it will put me under more stress and scrutiny than most other workers. Do we need more stress while driving on the road? What are we doing to educate those car drivers about sharing the road with trucks, both for their own safety and for ours, very little, though I have been pushing for that for years. I do recognise the NSW Centre for Road Safety has finally just done an add about sharing the road with trucks and thank them and would welcome your comments on it. But there is a long way to go. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


26th November 2017 Melancholy.

Goodaye all. It would take me three pages to fully detail this week. Some downs, some ups and like much in the life of an interstate driver, most of it came either unannounced, or by the actions of others. Nothing much different to all peoples lives true, we all get hit by surprise, with the good and the bad. Some win more, some suffer more and we all hope that those who suffer, have someone to share their pain and or to help them through it.

I will give you the dot point version, so as not to bore you all and certainly after the last couple of weeks, I don’t want you to think I am getting a bit down at heel.

  1. The engine in the K200 finally had enough of cracked rings, (they have been cracked for sometime, but it still went well and there were others in the fleet worse off than me, though mine was next in the que). It told me so with some warnings, but did not quite make it waiting for it’s turn. Cab up and down 3 times, covered in oil along with the exhaust, not recommended for either. Towed home, boy do truck towies have some things to fix. How long it is off the road will be decided next week.
  2. My children, I love them all and each is different and in this job, you are never there for them as a father should be. Yes you can ring them, you can tell them you love them, but you are too often, far away when they need you. That will not explain fully, but it is another weight on my mind. How can I do enough for them?
  3. Into another truck, short of drivers, change some gear over, not enough as I have mostly lived in the K200, 5 nights or more a week for over 6 years now. I have put too much of my life not only into the TIV, but spent too much of it in there. But we must earn a quid. This truck needed some TLC, one view says the driver did not get fixed what he wanted, another says he simply would not write it down or push hard enough. Working on getting it sorted, nothing serious, or I would not be driving it, but little things that either make my job harder, or less enjoyable.
  4. Go to Sydney, do two DC drops, each its own challenge, then find I am off to Melbourne direct, not home via Dubbo as originally told. Things change, I accept that, but a little notice or the effort to tell me, instead of me chasing to find out will make a big difference in my life on the road. Road works at loading point, “Choose Alternate Route” sign at the turn off in a b-double, looks OK, bugger that, round the corner, what clown said a semi could not get in? Told open 24 hours, on site, not inducted , “Go back” the man said, then “Only joking if your first time here”. Funny heh?
  5. Loading, hurry up we go home at 5.30PM, now 5 and another truck in front. Told 24 hours, “Not this part of the plant”. Loading me in his hurry to get home, lucky bugger, load of recycling on, he’s gone. Love the smell, too late to lift boards or floors, mmmmm.
  6. Ah well, time now to catch up on sleep and a shower, will ring my mate Stephen. How about meeting me for some “TRUCK That” filming on the Hume instead of coming to Dubbo next week. Good idea. We planned, then I spent an hour adjusting headlights, tea, shower at Marulan and to Gundagai to bed. Stephen arrives, filming all good and we decide to do “TRUCK That for RVers” to follow on from the good comments on the sharing rest areas video. Walk past a van, “No sign for the UHF I comment”, “Yes we do he says” and we chat. I ask would he like to be in a video to help others and yes he will. Thanks Steven and Bev, though Bev watched. Let us hope it will help make the roads safer in the long run. Watch this space.
  7. No keys for depot, try and sort to get in, so not locked outside for whole week-end. Thanks Katie and Anthony for your help. Will unload Monday, what time slot I was asked. What time slot? No one said. Check back copy of paperwork, due 11AM SATURDAY! Yeh right, that was going to happen, not. Help me and tell me such things and I will do my best. Don’t and I can’t. Many calls and numbers tried, no phone to receiving, will go and try my luck. Yes will unload me, thanks. I’ll start said forkie, then shiftchange and they will finish you, never saw him again.
  8. Phone calls, to Vicroads, fix the hole (again) just up the hill from Glenrowan please.
  9. ARRB starting on new National Guidelines for truck rest areas. Good and you will be able to contribute soon.
  10. NTC, excellent the guideline review is under way, but there is a much bigger problem, not enough rest areas. My new years program, make a lot of noise and have started working on the plan.
  11. Have to make a list for the K200 for all the little jobs while off the road and work on a week off.
  12. There were other bits and pieces, none of major issue yet.
  13. Wash the trailers inside from end to end to get most of the smell out. Love my job.
  14. About to run out of clothes, no frig, mine died and still tied in K200, so no way to carry much, working on another, anyone got a spare for a couple of weeks?
  15. Well that will do for now, time for a shower, though it has just stared to piss down outside. Missing my Icepack and my bed, in the 200 of course. Loading bulk DG tomorrow and back on the road again. I think there could be a song there. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

18th November. TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle History/Sponsors 2.

Goodaye all. I first got involved with road safety when on the road one Christmas and some truckies were bagging vanners out. I thought at the time, who will teach them unless we do? So I did the Caravan Survey and that lead to lots of other efforts. Working for Finemores Liquids driving tankers at the time, I spoke with Ron Finemore with a list of ideas and they then took me to my first Australian Trucking Association convention in Adelaide. I was told by a senior boss there “We would open a dialogue with you for a drivers view” and never heard from him again.

Toll bought Finemores and over the years I tried writing emails and went over and around my boss at times (and he happily told me he knew and it would not help me) and got frustrated I could not get them to support my aims. After meeting Paul Little and giving him another proposal (at another ATA conference, this time in Newcastle) I was called into another meeting and told, “We cannot afford to do what you want”.

As you might imagine, I was not impressed and along with some other issues, after 29 years continuous service, decided to leave and find someone who at the least, could see value in my ideas. After again trying all levels in Toll except for Mr Little, who it seems I could not get to through working there, I gave notice and wrote letters to 30 transport companies. I detailed my plan/dream of a truck to promote the industry and one company did reply weeks later after I had started with Rod Pilon, saying they would love to have me as a driver, but could not afford to support my road safety.

In my letters, I detailed the idea of the TIV as I did not think it fair to get a job and then ask for the support needed to do such a thing. I sent a copy to Rod Pilon, had a meeting with him and he said, “I’ll give you a go and if it all works out, I’ll buy you a new truck and trailers in 12 months”. I started out in truck 7, an ex Bunkers K104 with series 60 Detroit (just like old times from Finemores) with trailers 142 and 132, then Ken Wilkie offered me his truck and I started the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle at the Dubbo show with Ken’s truck and Rod Pilon Transport Trailers.


Rod Pilon agreed to support my aims and efforts and said as long as it did not cost him an arm and a leg, and he still has them all, we would see how it went. True to his word, he and I separately attended yet another ATA conference, this time in Canberra and Vawdrey supplied the semi-trailer for the conference auction. We were sitting apart and the trailer got sold, then they asked would the under bidder like one at the same price?

The under bidder was heard to say, I want a b-double set and Paul Vawdrey said, “We can do that” and it was announced that Rod Pilon had bought a b-double set of trailers. I got up and walked over to Rod (and on the way got stopped by yet another bloke who had gone to school with him, they are everywhere!) and as I approached, Rod got up, shook my hand and said, “There are your trailers”.

We worked out a list and I said to Rod, I wanted to design a set of curtains and did I ever bite off more than I had thought, but in the end, I came to Rod with a graphic of the curtains and he said, “MMMMM”. To be fair, it did look busy on a small laptop screen, but he waited for me in the yard when I got home with the first load after picking the trailers up in Melbourne and this time he said, “You have done well, they look terrific”.

That support has continued, my ten years at Rod Pilon Transport came up this year and with the current curtains, when the new K200 was ordered, I said to Rod, “I want to do new curtains for the new truck” and he said OK and never saw them till I turned up in the yard with them fitted. There are few company owners who would allow a driver to ever do that and there are things on the truck and trailers Rod Pilon has never seen, but he has given me the freedom to do all this to his equipment and I will be forever grateful for such support. If not for that support, the TIV would not exist.

Thank you to Rod Pilon and all at Rod Pilon Transport for their help and in allowing me to at the very least, start the TIV and then to continue those efforts for now into the tenth year. How do you really say thank you to that? Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


13th November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


5th November 2017. Newcastle Transport Awareness Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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