1st July 2019 What a week/short w-end.

Goodaye all. I was so keen to get to work I didn’t get time to lodge this yesterday. What a fun week. Dubbo, Melbourne, Dubbo, Gunnedah, Wee Waa, Sydney, Melbourne, Dubbo. A long chat with the RMS gents at the pads at Gunnedah, gave them a copy of Owner Driver, the fellow did have some trouble getting through under the truck after the mechanic left some diff oil in and on the wheels when the diff was reraced, but it was all clean underneath.

Starting off Sunday with grease all over the black seatcover was not very impressing, lucky I put my hand on it first, then tried to get most off and spent the week sitting on bits of rag. Delivery into Sydney was fun, but Melbourne was worse, split to deliver, then told, sorry please take it to our other warehouse. My paperwork says here, I rang yesterday and was told here, I have already split, unbuckled and waited an hour here, so it comes off here. OK then, we will unload you here, “Thank you” I said.

The saga getting in there the night before, the GPS scaring me where it wanted me to go and then not telling me of a 4.3 height bridge on the way out, caused me much and many bouts of consternation. Now I have to write a list of Truck GPS wrongs, to see what can be done to get it right. There is still no true truck GPS (and in the USA they have banned trucks from using car systems after many bridge strikes and other calamities) and we do have many different combinations and other issues, but if it says truck settings and truck GPS, you would like to think it can help you, instead of hanging you.

Had trouble with an air leak, half fixed during the week as we did not have a metric fitting, coming home Saturday, less that half fixed, but sorted when I got back to the yard for next week. Park up the TIV and jump in the little truck to go and move some boys gear back home. Just finished unloading it and packing now to go to work. Have to cut short now, still need to buy food and get sorted and on the road. Did find a few extra green reflector bays during the week in a couple of different spots, explained how they worked to a couple of drivers and had others comment on my last column, saying they too have had either a similar issue or have met the fine officer in Gilgandra to their dismay.

I must lastly say I have met some real idiots on the road this week. Those who don’t know how to merge, don’t know what indicators are for and last night coming home in the little truck with little lights, few who will dip until well after they blind you. Seems if you don’t have fantastic lights an they do, they can blind you merrily till they get sick of you flashing your standard headlights. The joys of trucking. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

23rd June 2019 Fatigue Co-design Wshop

Goodaye all. On Thursday I attended the NTC run Fatigue Co-design Workshop held in Sydney. There were about 60 people in attendance, many from interstate, associations and government bodies, a few from large companies and small and some drivers. Whilst the fatigue paper is currently out for submissions, this is the only formal meeting about the fatigue paper. It is 60 pages, but even if you don’t have the time to read and fully respond, please take the time to contribute. If there is one fatigue issue that really causes you problems, or you believe does not help you manage your fatigue and you can supply an example, if that is all you do, send it in.

If enough drivers complain of a similar problem and can show why it is a problem, that will be a powerful case for change. We did a number of sessions and discussion forums on a range of issues and each group tabled their outcomes. All of these were then discussed and debated by the whole group and will go into the data used to look at the problems raised in the paper and the submissions to it.

It was good to have a small group of drivers and a couple of small fleet people to get our views heard. There was support and recognition from others of some of our issues. I did raise the specific comment, that if you are looking at fatigue generally, then without good sleep and a place to have that good quality sleep, you cannot manage your fatigue. Lack of sleep not only leaves you tired, overtime it does and will affect your health. So until we have suitable and sufficient rest areas, decent size bunks on trucks and icepacks, some may well still get good sleep, but many won’t and fatigue will continue to be a problem. The lack of places within cities to park and sleep in a truck, is just as severe as on the highway.

Flexibility was the biggest request from drivers, not more hours, but the ability to manage our fatigue, to drive when fit and sleep when tired and not when a logbook, which does not know how you feel and can well work against you, tells you to. The logbook doesn’t care if there is no toilet, shade or anything else you may require, it just forces you to do what it requires under law, whether that is the best for your fatigue or not and of course, if you disagree and do what might be the best for you at the time, the logbook will punish you severely if you don’t do what it requires of you for legal compliance.

I am glad I attended, hope that those issues raised will be looked at in genuine good faith and I thank the NTC for the invite and help to be able to attend. I would have loved to have seen more than the two fulltime drivers in attendance, but believe we covered most of the issues well and as I said, others from different groups did seem to recognise and respect many of the points we raised.

Back to work today to see how a few repairs go on truck and trailers, having made the most of the time off to attend the meeting, getting a service and a diff attended to during my absence. Thanks also to Rod Pilon Transport for the time to attend. Whilst I stayed up late into early Wednesday morning to do my spot on Nightshift with Luke and Jess, I was working on my fatigue paper reply whilst waiting to go on air and I again implore you to contribute with submissions due in August, so you still have time to get your comments and issues in. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey

16th June 2019 Be heard!

Goodaye all. Have you read the NTC Fatigue paper? Yes it is 60 pages, but do you have a problem with our fatigue laws? If so, will you do something to see them improved. A month ago, I went to court in Gilgandra for my first ever log book offence in 30 years on the road. It is in my column in Owner Driver this month and the following, is what I wrote before I attended court, so I would have my list of reasons why the ticket should be dismissed.

1. The alleged offense on the 26th November 2019 was not intentional. I did not drive 14 plus hours straight. I overlapped a half hour. It can be difficult to remember every period driven and your breaks and to do so, you must then continually go back and forth in your logbook. Having had a 7 hour break the night before, had things gone as normal, I would have been later getting out of Melbourne and then been legal. It is unusual to get out of Melbourne early and as I went in empty and was lucky to get loaded straight away, I thought, this is good, I will beat the traffic and get most of the way home for a good nights sleep.

2. The logbook states in rules for counting time, “Count time periods of 24 hours or longer forward from the end of a relevant major rest break relevant to the period in your hours option” Who then decides which is the “relevant” period? If it is about managing fatigue, I only worked for 6 and a quarter hours, then had a 7 hour break. I did not have to go far to go to bed, nor to start work. My truck is fitted with an Icepack, a refrigerated air conditioning system that ensures consistent temperature and covers much outside noise, so I did get good sleep in that break. I also ensured that sleep was from around midnight and did so again the next day, so have made every effort to be off the road in the very early hours of the morning, recognised as the worst time for fatigue. I overlapped at 6.15PM the following night and did have a break from 7PM till 7.45 for my tea and then stopped at Parkes at 12.15AM for 9 and a quarter hours break. I stopped to manage my fatigue, I was not in any way shape or form, fatigued at 6.15PM

3. On Wednesday the 28th November at 5.30PM, two days after the alleged breach I was stopped and inspected, my logbook checked and signed at Daroolbaggie with no concern raised. This officer must obviously have used the end of the seven hour period as the “relevant” period. He obviously did not detect me then as fatigued, nor see me as in breach.

4. The logbook requires us to operate in 15 minute periods. We are required to count work time forward and so can “lose” and or give away, work time. In the 24 hour period in question, I stopped 8 times. Even if I lost only 3 minutes each of those times and it could have been up to 10 minutes, then it is quite likely if the actual time was counted, I may not have exceeded 14 hours. I have already previously written to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator asking for the wording to be changed to read, “count forward from the LAST major rest break” to both allow us a minor amount of flexibility and to overcome this type of overlap error and the subsequent penalties. I have also written and will be doing so again, to the current National Heavy Vehicle Law Review, seeking this change and a way to recognise a good record and allow one mistake in a given period.

5. I did ask the officer if he had looked at my record and he said it was, “not bad”. I have driven interstate for 30 years, done 6 million kilometres and never had a single logbook offense and only one speeding warning. I have never ever “lost” a logbook to hide an error and am very involved in road safety and try to do the right thing. I would hope you might agree one minor overlap in 30 years is not the record of a law breaker and that with this, a warning, again considering the RMS saw no breach, would have been reasonable. I will be writing the HVNL review asking to have something put in place that will allow a minor error every five years (or around one million kilometres for most interstate truck drivers) as no one is perfect. All drivers are allowed one mistake in every ten years in NSW for a minor traffic offense and I think this is reasonable considering they will only do possibly 200,000 kilometres and we do that each year.

The judge dismissed the offence with the prosecutor, (the Police did not attend) saying, for a professional driver that is not a good record, that is an exceptional record. I am not perfect and have never claimed to be, but I can hardly ask others to do the right thing if I don’t. On the other side, I have to get the job done and will be seen as a goody two shoes if I do it perfectly and never make a mistake. It can be a balancing act, having had others say in the past, “You are on their side”, the authorities, because I don’t call them all the names under the sun in my column and comments.

My response was that if I do, (like others) will they, the authorities be likely to fix a bit of road or listen to me, when I want a rest area built or improved? Not likely. The driver who had made the initial comment, then said, “Oh, I had not thought of that or seen it that way”. Yes we all want things done, but we have to ask the right way and abusing people will never get them to listen to your needs and requests.

This list formed part of my submission to the first NTC NHVL paper and so I will follow through with the effort. It cost me $700 in lost wages, time and fuel to travel to Gilgandra and now I find I could have asked for costs when it was dismissed. Why can we not have a central place to get fair justice when we are supposed to have a national license and national heavy vehicle laws and regulator?

When the NHVR was first formed, I asked this question at one meeting, to be told, we will look at that. At the next meeting when I asked again, I was told it was too hard. If murderers can get a video trial, why can’t we get a cheap and reasonable way to defend ourselves against a police or authority ticket issued in a state well away from home, with them knowing it will cost us more to defend that the ticket itself? Is that fair justice, NO. Will it change? Not unless we demand a fair go. Will you do something to see this change? Then write, email or ring the NTC and contribute to the Fatigue review.

I currently hope to attend the one and only NTC meeting in Sydney next week for the fatigue review and will be putting this forward yet again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

9th June 2019

Goodaye all. Short and sweet this week. A big week on the road, some fun loading a jigsaw puzzle and some not so fun, being at the end of the chain of responsibility. The driver still carries the can and for those who are well removed from the freight they want carried, but who either don’t care about how their actions affect our lives, even simply getting sleep when you can if delayed, let alone in so many other ways.

People make mistakes, someone else causes a screw up and someone has to fix it. That happens and is a part of all business, not just transport and we mess up too at times, no one is perfect. We should all then know how important information is, what went wrong, when the freight is timeslotted for delivery, what can be done to help you do it for them (and save their bacon), but it seems it is often simply too much to pass it on, to then help us with compliance and getting the job done safely and on time. We will see how it turns out, I did my bit and got there safely and on time, but still got stuffed about at the other end, seems one screwing over was not enough.

I have started reading the 60 plus pages of the second HVNL 2nd document, about fatigue this one and very timely. Still too long perhaps and I have had further discussions with the NTC, ATA and others in the media about my concerns. If you have one problem and you can explain and detail and also offer a suggested improvement, I highly recommend you at least do that. If enough drivers highlight the same problem, we can at least hope it will gain some reaction.

The ATA and QTA have both offered to accept drivers views and comments towards their submissions and that is another welcome opportunity for drivers who do not have the time for the whole shebang to read and respond as the papers are quite extensive. Would a flyer in servos with some simple questions get to more drivers? Have we only got to those who read the industry press and still many do not even know of the review? What do you think?

I spoke with a mate during the week, asking him to consider putting in a submission. He said he still loves trucks, but whilst he has a good job now, perhaps even the best he has ever had, he is over the industry. He also made the comment, in the 20 years he has made the effort to “get involved”, write submissions and the like, there has not been one thing from those efforts that has filtered down to him on the road as a driver and whilst that may seem, me, me, me, that is why people contribute to see things change and he has been sadly disappointed each and every time he has made the effort.

I have said this, many times. Many drivers are cynical of such reviews, interviews and those seeking submissions and I will happily be corrected if anyone can show me a change from such. In 2003 I went to Canberra, was the only driver to speak at the “National Enquiry into Road Safety”, was then asked for a “one pager” from the Chairman on an issue and delivered it within the week. From that enquiry, there were 35 recommendations made by the committee, three of which were mostly mine, the then blue reflector markings of informal truck bays, signing the length of overtaking lanes (the one pager) and still two more I was a part of and not one of those recommendations was ever acted on.

No wonder we are a cynical bunch, yet here I am again reading and submitting and asking you to do the same. Why? Because it may well be our best chance to get something changed that will affect us on the road. If only a couple of drivers submit, then it can’t really be a problem, or more would have, they will say. So, it is up to us. Please make the effort, one more time or do this one if you have never done so before. Off to load tomorrow for Melbourne Tuesday, what long week-end? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey

2nd June 2019 Nag, Nag, Nag.

Goodaye all. Just grabbing a quick lunch of chicken with rice and lemon and off to Toowoomba again. Started an audio book supplied by young Gregory, only to be told I was reading the wrong one first. Damn, I was just getting into it, but thank goodness, hopefully haven’t gone too far to spoil it for later. I missed last weeks’ entry for my other Facebook page “Audiobooks for the road” another spare time activity, so if you read them, have a look and participate.

That of course has been my theme for the week, getting others to participate in the HVNL review. I have raised my concerns in a number of media outlets and avenues, rang mates and asked them to have a look and even asked drivers on the UHF. Most have said, they will have a look, but also said it is a big ask simply for time. We are all time poor and if you have to decide whether to look at 70 pages, or keep your wife and or family happy when you are never there anyway, which will give you more life value?

The NTC have responded saying they want input and that is a good step, yet I fear from those I have asked, that they have either watched others and seen them respond with no changes, or have made the effort, with one mate saying, “I still love trucks, but I am over the industry. I have contributed to many things over the years and not once, have I seen an improvement in something directly helping me.”

If not enough respond, will we get any improvement? Yes there is the microsite where you can have a whinge, raise a problem, but there is not enough room for the solution. You still have to sign up and or log in and I spent time looking for the other submissions with no luck and gave up. I am keen, others maybe not so much and how hard will they try if it is just too difficult, no matter how easy someone else will tell you it is.

The ATA have also responded saying they will also help any member get their views across and I very much welcome that, both in intent and the offer itself. I have not seen any of their member associations put in submissions, but hope they have. If we all rely and contribute to the single ATA submission and no one else does individually, do you think that will be recognised as serious and get the right response?

I would like to see hundreds of drivers contribute, even if they only put in the one thing that really gives them trouble on the road. It does need to be a genuine concern, with details, the problem and a possible solution. These real life events and issues showing the problems and why they are problems, may well see more done than any single industry submission in itself, whether it represents ten associations or ten drivers. The more effort put in, hopefully the better the outcome, but that is where the past is making many cynical.

What is your one biggest problem, why and what is the solution. If you only send that in, I will be personally thankful. Is the process right? Will we get value for the money spent? Those questions cannot be answered till the end and I hope you don’t get sick of my nagging, but I want it fixed and better for drivers. What do you want? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

26th May 2019 HVNL Review Paper 1.

Goodaye all. I have just spent another two hours (total now over 7 hours) completing my submission to the first of 8 papers for the HVNL review and then reading the 9 current submissions. It is amazing to me that of those 9 submissions, 4 are similarly worded and more about bicycles and their problems, yet not one of them suggests anything about teaching cycle riders to share the road with the trucks.

There is one truck driver submission, (now two when mine is accepted), two councils with Dubbos withheld from publication, one based on insurance and one industry association, with submissions due to close on the 31st May. Who is affected most by these laws? The drivers. Why are they not submitting in large numbers, how to improve this law for their own good and safety?

How many have looked at the first document, seen 70 pages and gone, “I haven’t got the time for this”? Many have contributed comments to the microsite and this is a good idea and a chance to make a comment, yet how many have made a comment, but not contributed a submission and why? Such comments may be valuable, but need the info to back them up. Saying “It is no good” of the logbook or that anything else is no good, will not in itself, see anything change. You must explain what you want and at least try to show how to fix it.

I have asked other drivers to look, spoken on radio and mentioned the review here and if this is the first of 8 papers for review and submissions, I can only hope the others are more driver friendly and that specific issues may get more input. If not, what will change and how many will complain after that “they” did not fix anything?

Even if you don’t read the 70 pages, but contribute a submission that shows and explains an example of what you see as the biggest problem with the current law, that would help. The people doing the review don’t live on the road and don’t know the problems, let alone the solutions. They need real examples to show what the problems are, to be able to find and or consider a solution that will work. In the USA when I was there for my Churchill Fellowship trip, the FMCSA called for submissions about the driving hours there and received 5,500 responses, including one from me. That review is due to be announced next month and there are good indications there will be change that is wanted by most.
They contributed and got heard and will get an improvement.

We cannot expect any improvement if we don’t offer input and we will not get any if only two drivers make the effort. Ask your drivers, ask a mate who drives do they even know of the current review and will they contribute. I doubt we will ever get another chance to be able to see real change in my life on the road. My submission alone, will do bugger all, but if 100 drivers made the effort to explain just one thing that they see as the biggest problem and offered and example of why, then we may just get something worthwhile from all this. Please consider doing something, even if only about one issue and please, ask your mates to do the same. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

20th May 2019 Brissie Truckshow.

Goodaye all. Had a connection problem and now in Brissie on Monday, so back to the story. Sunday evening and I have just got back to Toowoomba from the Brissie Truckshow. I had planned to go if it was possible, then was given a new plan B, maybe still a chance, plan C, more doubtful and then plan D, buckleys chance, heading to Melbourne Thursday with 4 pick ups and four drops. However thanks to Nick, a driver keen to do some more and his mate Nathan, who lives in Toowoomba and was keen to go back for another look at the show, I managed to stay and have tea for my eldest grandsons’ tea in Dubbo Saturday, get through to Toowoomba (where I will unload in the morning), early on Sunday and get a couple of hours sleep before heading into the Truckshow.

I visited many of the sponsors of the current TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and who will all support the next one, so all I need now is a truck and set of trailers to fit all the ancillary equipment on and we are under way. I will find a way to make it happen.

I did not see a true “show” truck, as in years past with the RM Williams truck and others. There were some beautiful trucks and trailers, but no show stopper. The new b-double Mack Superliner looks tall and may well be a new contender for serious b-doubles and the Anthem recently released in the USA is a step forward for Mack. I must recommend the “Roadlife” series of videos they did in the states as part of the release of the biggest change in Mack trucks, since being taken on by Volvo and the XXL big cab Volvo is a long awaited improvement to an already good truck.

The new Cascadia is still to be released here and will see the end of the Argosy and the Actros is going well, with sales and getting into many fleets.
Kenworth, all in red had a Euro 6 K 200and the 610 is a good looking bit of gear and the 909 bigger cab in the future, may see an improvement in the in cab living conditions of those who love a big bonnet.

All those I spoke with told of big crowds and interest over the first three days of the show and today was a bit quieter, but many were still happy with those visiting. I got round most stands, watched a part of the apprentice challenge, but did not get to see the trucks on display outside the venue. Worth the effort to get there, a terrific event for the industry and thanks to RPT, to Nick and Nathan for your help to attend.

I have made a big effort to respond to the first of the papers for the HVNL review, but have also spoken to the NTC about the length of the first document. Seventy pages to read with 12 questions to answer, is a lot even for those with time and being paid to reply and this is the first of 8 such documents. For those of us who are time poor, can we justify the effort? Please do not be discouraged by the length, nor let it make you shy away. Our current law is far too long and over prescriptive and if we do not put in the effort to offer suggestions and comments, then we will not see any serious change.

Yes our associations have the staff and time to reply, but they do not drive the trucks, cop the fines, get treated the way we do, nor live on the road. We can rely on them to look at the big picture, but can we rely on them to put forward the issues and solutions that will make our job fairer and safer? You can certainly put comments on the microsite, which takes short grabs, but will that alone get the changes we need, recognised and actioned?

Submissions close for this document at the end of the month and I will ask you to seriously consider putting in the time and effort to reply and to keep watching the NTC website for the other documents. Even if you consider this one too much, there may be others that are shorter and which impact on you more and which your contributions, even if short and sweet, can see the HVNL is improved for all. You can make a difference, but if you don’t, who will? Please make that effort. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

12th May/19 Road Safety Awareness week.

Goodaye all. Well what did you do for road safety awareness week? Did you have a yellow ribbon on your vehicle? Did you organise or take part in an activity? I did some radio interviews, pieces in the local papers and both local television stations did stories covering the Truckies Top Tips videos and promoting the website. http://www.sharetheroad.net.au Is that good or is it not enough to save a life?

My youngest son was involved in a crash Friday night, he and the others involved are OK but the cars are not, except for the person at fault who seems to have got off with little damage. My daughter had a car touch hers on the roundabout, no damage, just backed up and drove off. From both their accounts, they were not at fault. We all see the videos from dash cams and we think, what idiot would do that, but every day we and they, do do that!

How do we stop this? When young we all think we are ten foot tall and bulletproof. Perhaps some have a minor scare when they are young, survive it and go on being wary. Some may simply not get another chance. In many of the interviews I have done, I have said that I believe truckies do not get recognition for the crashes we prevent by the way we drive.

We get blamed for most we are involved in, at least initially and we are obviously at fault in some, but we drive for others because we know they do not understand trucks. I know of drivers who have died to save the life of a motorist who has made one of those stupid mistakes. Should anyone be put in that position? There are programs that visit schools and show the horror behind such events and the kids say it is powerful and makes them think. But does it last long enough or do they forget until they later make that mistake and then it may be too late.

They may die, their family will be affected, but what about the truckie who simply went to work to feed his family. Should he and his family be possibly destroyed by the untrained or unthought through actions of another driver. Should they have to make a decision in a split second, as to whether they kill someone who made that mistake, or risk their own life to save that person?

I do not have the answers. I hope the videos will help. When I started being involved over 20 years ago, I said at the time, the worst thing that can happen is that I waste my time and effort and nothing changes. If I save one life, then everything after that is a bonus. What have you done to help?

I will detail last Friday in a couple of weeks. It involves court. But from that I am currently going through the first of 8 documents from the National Transport Commission website http://www.ntc.gov.au regarding the Heavy Vehicle National Law review. Sixty plus pages and 12 questions to answer may well mean not enough reply. I think it is important, otherwise I have many other things I could be doing. Some of my family appreciate my efforts and I have discussed with them all, that you must do more than just live your life. But with my job and my second unpaid one, there is often little time, let alone quality time, to be with them. I am not alone, there are others who do terrific work in their jobs, in their hobbies and in their spare time.

I just wish I could win the Lotto and do more and have some family time as well, but we can only try and only you know what you can and can’t do. I hope to find a major sponsor to set up the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and maybe then I can do both. Maybe one of you would be interested or know of someone who can help? I can only ask.

I have just found this reported on social media, check out ABC News, “Forty hours on the road with an outback truckie”
ABC PILBARA KAREN MICHELMORE . Heather is on her way to the Brisbane Truckshow and took a journalist for a little ride. Well done Heather and I hope to see you at the Truckshow if all goes to plan. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th May 2019 Road Safety week start.

Goodaye all. Next week is National Road Safety Week and I will straight up ask any who can, to share our videos from http://www.sharetheroad.net.au I have a number of radio interviews planned and have sent emails to many other press contacts from over the last few years. I will pursue other local and national media as well. Thank you to those in our media press and industry associations who have helped share them. We do appreciate it. To those who haven’t, I must ask why not?

Stephen McCarthy cameraman and editor, Jessica Ferrari producer and Nicole Rutledge and myself, all worked together to produce the videos and they all want the same as I do. To have people see them and gain some knowledge not normally available to those who only drive cars or bikes. As a truckie, I drive cars as well and some young learners will have been in a truck if in a trucking family, but many will never have the chance.

These videos aim to offer a truckies view to help other drivers understand the actions of truck drivers. Learning after making a mistake, could cost you your life and will also then affect any others involved, be they passengers or the truckie who simply could not avoid hitting you, after you have made a mistake.
We all know young drivers think they are ten foot tall and bulletproof, (like we all were) and it will never happen to them. Those who do suffer such an event, may get away with a scare, or they may never get another chance to learn.

We would like to see these videos widely distributed, used by clubs and groups and we will pursue the road authorities to include them in driver license testing, all with one aim, to try and do our bit to make the roads safer for all. The videos are available and free to all and we thank the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for the funding to produce them and make them available at no cost to any who can use them.

There will be many other events and parts of road safety week. If you do nothing else to be a part of it, please consider how you drive on the road. Do you see it as a privilege that you have earned by learning the rules and passing the test? Or do you see it as a right? If so, why? None of us “owns” the road. The road is provided by governments to allow us the mobility we all crave today. Yet the road is the workplace of truckies and other drivers who live and work on the road. It may not be recognised as such under the law as yet, but please consider what it is like to “live” on the road.

Away from home most of the time, away from family and friends, those you love. Not a normal lifestyle where you can plan to be at a family event, under the watchful eye of not just every other road user, but the authorities too. And unfortunately, most of those who make the rules we operate under, do not have to live under those rules themselves and are more than happy to tell us how and when to do it, without any clue what it is like to live in a truck.

Too few rest areas, little shade, even fewer toilets and even less for women truckies, and no parking when the holiday season is on. As has just happened over Easter with many truck spots at service centres, often the only place we can access toilets and meals and showers, and even in designated truck parking areas or truckstops, taken by the holidaying public with little thought to all the food and fuel they use, being delivered by the same trucks they are denying basic facilities to.

Not all truckies are perfect, I certainly am not, but I do try hard to do my best, be compliant with the law, share the road with others and to get home safely each trip. It is true, trucks are bigger and if you are smaller as in any physical encounter, the bigger thing will do more damage to the smaller thing, you in your car. Might is not right, whether you are a car ignoring a motorbike, a bigger 4wd ignoring a car or a truck doing it. Yet if you recognise and respect the size and weight of trucks (remember we carry everything you use in your life), then you will improve road safety for all. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

22nd April 2019 Happy Easter.

Goodaye all. Home for my one day of Easter yesterday after attending the Stone the Crows Festival in Wagga Wagga for two days, then off to Brisbane today. Got loaded in Melbourne Thursday, out reasonably early, up to the King of the Road Truckwash in Albury to get the TIV and me too, all washed up for the show. Thanks for a terrific job, boys, it hadn’t been done for a couple of weeks and came up pretty well for its age. I grabbed a shower while in the que. When we were both all clean, up the road to Henty Man rest area for the night and had it all to myself, which would never happen normally with trucks and caravans often filling it.

Up early doing the detailing, touch ups and interior clean for a good few more hours, then filmed driving into the mass of caravans and motorhomes on site at lunchtime. I was last in and had to wait for all the others to arrive and get to their sites. Nearly 500 and almost at capacity for the grounds, but the range of activities for those attending going from craft, many different information sessions and entertainment from the cocoa club with bedtime stories, to comedy, music and Little Pattie performing one night.

Some stay for the four days of Easter and some for a total of 7 days. This is my fourth year attending and for the first time my second eldest daughter Katie, took part with me on stage. We launched the Truckies Top Tips videos, showing all 9 videos with comments and questions from the audience, along with covering the usual discussion points of trucks and vans on the road, rest areas and the like. A good crowd, very interactive and we kept going for an hour and a half and still had a mob of people at the end with further questions. The TIV was on display just outside the venue with my banners covering the tips, the TIV and one about last year being the tenth year of the TIV on the road.

The organisers had a survey form printed out for those who were new to the Stone the Crows and we had a few left over which I gave out on Saturday for my second session, which was more about my Churchill Fellowship trip last year. The few copies of Owner Driver I had went quickly along with many business cards and I hope to gain a few more followers and comments in the future.

Stephen from Whiteline Television, the man behind both the “TRUCK That Australia” videos we do and also the camerman, producer and video editor for all the Truckies Top Tens just released, filmed some of the session each day and we did the next “Truck That Australia” episode, introducing Katie as our newest team member. Stephen is a full time truckie as well and worked Friday night, before driving down from Canberra to do the filming at the event.

I must say all at the Stone the Crows were very welcoming with Katie making the same comment, the people who organise this event, all the volunteers and those who attend, go out of their way to say hello and are the friendliest bunch of people you would hope to meet. Thanks again for the invite, for the participation in the sessions, the survey replies, the entertainment and the comradery.

The response from the truckies Top Tips videos has been excellent, but any of you with group associations, please share them round. They were funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator through the National Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Initiative and are available online at no cost, specifically so they can be widely used. You can see and distribute them from http://www.sharehteroad.net.au and we hope they help make the roads safer for all.

I would like to see all trucking associations and groups get behind the videos and help to get them out to as many people as possible. The more we help car drivers understand some of our issues, the safer we will all be on the road. Yes, truckies make mistakes too, but we do not go to work to be involved in crashes, no matter what anyone else wants to try and tell you. The job, the traffic, the delays not only on the road but in loading and unloading on some sites, the restrictions and penalties under which we operate, all of these often make it harder to be able to drive when you are fit and sleep when you are tired. Yes we must have rules and yes, not all people will follow them, but all we ask is for some understanding of the job, suitable and sufficient rest areas, safer roads, better education of car drivers, some recognition of the lifestyle and its problems and the flexibility to get the job done safely for all on the road, without being fined half a weeks wages for being 15 minutes over time. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.