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21st May 2022 Putty Road Truck Drivers Memorial

Goodaye all, I have just returned to Singleton from attending and speaking at the Putty Road Memorial. Yet another one of the few places and times, truckies are recognised. Ten more names of drivers who have died or passed on and who were in the industry, were added today. Like many events, covid has meant a gap in such events and to see truckies attending and family members laying wreaths or flowers and remembering those who have left our roads is very moving.

Last time I attended, I was able to get a permit from NHVR and have the TIV b-double on site. With a few issues re trailers and work, I had thought I would be letting them down, but managed to get loaded Thursday, spent a day and a bit at Singleton and then spoke today, will attend the dinner and then hit the road.

When I pulled up to load Thursday afternoon, I had to wait outside a yard with trucks and trailers inside and a bloke walked up to his fence and said, “I don’t always agree with what you say, but the industry is buggered. I was cleaning out the shed and reading old copies of Truckin’ Life and Truck and Bus and we are still asking for what we wanted fixed then.” He said when I was loaded to come and have a look at his 900.

I started loading, had to jig things around a bit and another local truck, turned up outside. He sat there, perhaps on hourly rate and was happy to wait. Needing to change ends on the tautliners etc, I suggested they bring him in and unload him while I caught up. I did not need to, no one else thought of it, but it was the right thing to do. In loading, it was an ugly load and in the end we got it done, but I really ran out of ratchets and straps, loose light stuff over other stuff and using mezzanine floors, having to double and triple strap, so no 34 pallets on and go. The blokes loading me had been due to finish half an hour earlier.

So now loaded and knowing I had time to spare, I pulled outside so they could lock the gates and the last fellow head home and went to chat with Keith, met his son and looked at his 900. He says it has cost him a lot on money and I thought it must have been a project truck, but he drove it for years and then his son for some as well. It is 95% finished and he has been busy of late, so not had as much time to work on it. It looks magnificent and will go back to do a bit of work when finished.

There were a few old trucks at the Putty Road Memorial, and I spoke with many drivers and at the end, a lady came up to me and said, she enjoyed my talk, but there are some ratbags out there. That has always been the case, the few who behave badly, tailgate cars and caravans, (particularly when then is no place to pass for kilometres) park at the bowser while they get a coffee when there are only two, fail to indicate or thank people when they let them in or out, are the ones others remember and think we are all the same.

So you say, you can’t be perfect all the time and you are right, none of us can. Like you, I make mistakes and sometimes do the wrong thing, but I try hard not to, I will own up and I will thank others. A few weeks ago, I pulled out into a merge lane and the fellow in the next (and totally separate) lane beside me went off. He knew my boss, he knew my truck and I would not have a job by the end of the day. I honestly could not work out what his problem was and thought it must have been the truck I had pulled out across, coming in the other direction. It was one of those intersections we all hate, you wait and wait and then have to pick the best spot to get out in a loaded b-double.

The one going the other way did not have a problem, but the bloke I pulled out beside kept on for 5 minutes, even after I had apologised (and I have made certain I was in the right, there is a separate merge lane beside his which they can’t access, it is designed and signed that way) and I nearly caused a big crash etc. In the end others told him to pull his head in. Now the poor bugger may have had a bad day, he may simply, once having started his rant, not wanted to accept he had made a mistake, but nothing happened and he could simply have said, “Sorry mate”.

If we can’t work together, when no one else really cares about us, then what hope have we got? Yes in my talk today I spoke of losing a mate, Chris Harmer, how important such mates are on the road, about making an effort, joining an association or group of some kind, ringing road authorities to report road conditions and how yes, we are still asking for the same stuff we wanted fixed 20 years ago. Why is that and what can we do?

When old mate with the 900 did thank me for the green reflectors, I at least felt I had not completely let him down. I agreed we have not solved all the problems, if any, but what is the alternative? I can just walk away and have a normal drivers life, or I can keep trying. I will, what will you do?

Congratulations to the organisers and the locals who support the Putty Road Memorial, the rain may have had an impact, it did come and go, but they as I said, are one of the few industry groups who recognise and value drivers and we need much more of that from where I sit. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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14th May 2022 Farewell Mr Positive.

Goodaye all, here I am in rainy Brisbane, got in last night, waiting to find a way north west, or north then west. Seems some roads are closed again. I know it is my fault for the rain, getting the truck washed last week and not even a photo to show for it and then it rained on the way home Saturday night. Tomorrow will check the maps and see where and when I can go. This morning, cleaned out the toolboxes, the cab, caught up on paperwork and this afternoon, had Simon from Atlas Balance bring me out some late lunch and some stickers for the truck.

Years ago, Ken Wilkie had balance rings on his Kenworth I think, plus Cats Eyes for the tyre pressures and a special oil filter, so he was keen to look at what was then, a bit outside the norm. Simon, after years of having them made overseas, bit the bullet and now has them made here to his spec and they will fit all trucks.

I was visiting Dubbo during the week as I do occasionally, got a couple of minor gate repairs done, fitted some hooks for EIPs and had the trailers serviced. Then got the steer tyres rotated and fitted the balance rings we could not do last week. The truck was at about 57000 k then and my first impression was that I could “feel” the road more and having driven to Moree, unloaded and reloaded then back to Newcastle to get a service, it felt more secure in the bucketing rain I drove in nearly all the way. Down the track we will do the drive and see what else changes.

A big week-end next week-end, Dubbo show, election and I am to talk at the Putty Road Memorial, if I can get there or anywhere with this rain, so another week-end away from home and family, but that is what we do. With this rain, I am only getting wet and messed about, others have lost everything and some, more than once in two months.

I have had an approach about attending a caravan show in Queensland, someone has seen our videos on truck rest areas and Caravans and Roadtrains, highly recommended viewing for all (and the drone footage of a triple overtaking a triple is awesome) at www.whitelinetv.com.au

If you visit the whiteline site, you may see some videos about Mr Positive, Chris Harmer. I knew Chris for over 30 years and whilst he was on and off the road and in different jobs over those years, his last with Burkinshaws and before that Shearers in Wagga, he had a love for trucks and life I have seen in few people.

I had hoped to be able to take part in the interviews, but was always going the wrong way when it could be arranged with Chris. He went to work on a Tuesday, had a headache on the Wednesday and was in hospital with a brain tumour by the end of the week. There are three videos, “Mr Positive” “A Catch up” and the last, an “Interview with Mr Positive”. Having raised this site, I have just watched the last one. Chris passed away in February. I did speak with him the week before he died and as always at the end, he would tell me to stay safe.

Over the last 5 or so years before his illness, we would talk weekly, sometimes just a catch up, he would be on the road and call me, or vice versa. We would discuss the world’s problems, then our own and he was often a good sounding board for ideas, or simply to get the weight of the world off my shoulders. Our longest chat I think went for well over 3 hours and there was little we did not discuss. To have a friend like that to talk to, is something we often need, but don’t always have.

I miss him and mourn his passing, but in watching the videos, you cannot fault his faith, his positivity and his resolve. He had children with special needs and that weighed on him and put pressure on him and his wife. He had changed his jobs over time to be home more, Burkinshaws went out of their way to support him and I would like to recognise and thank them for that. They bought him a 700 HP Volvo, their first, they specced the SAR for him before he was forced to retire, but I think it was a very special relationship, again, one few drivers have with their employer. From where I sit, each thought the other a part of their family.

So Goodbye Mr Positive, I do hope you have found peace in heaven and to all us left on this earth, I hope you have a friend who is as special. If you don’t, perhaps you can be that special friend to another. I miss our chats and hope you travel safe Chris, farewell for now. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

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8th May 2022 ATA Convention

Goodaye all, just home this morning and off tomorrow, so short and sweet. Short week on the road, nothing special but got the truck and trailers wheel aligned while attending the ATA convention. Was to fit some steer balance rings, but they did not have a torque wrench, so will sort this week and do a rotation at the same time.

I saw the doctor at 7PM, pretty keen to see a top Sydney surgeon in Dubbo that time on a Sunday night. Top bloke, last repair went well and working good. New damage is not just tendon, but torn shoulder as well. Says he would recommend surgery, but we will have to see. Then got to work to have a trailer problem, had to tranship the load, finished late, went to bed and off to Newcastle early. Unload and reload and managed to get it done on the Monday after sitting for hours waiting to load. Had a good feed at Moorelands on the way up, one of the few old roadhouses on the Pacific now.

Just made it to Ballina for the loo, a kip, then radio and did a live truckstop revue. No kitchen, just fast food and had a quick shower with Luke and Jess, was a bit crowded, but made for good radio some said afterwards. Back to bed and off again and on into Brisbane Tuesday, visit Icepack to sort some future cupboards (a top bunch of helpful blokes there).

In Brissie got the truck washed, worked local for the day, then a lift to the convention. In for a quick hello and drink, then into the serious part Thursday morning. Attended sessions the whole time, did my spot as one of three presenters in “The Future of Truck Rest Areas” that afternoon. Spoke with many, asked lots of questions, may get the award for the most questions asked, if not me, then NRFA would be a shoo in.

NRFA had 8 members as a delegation, two more attending in their own right and congratulations to Sally Tipping for her previously winning the NSW Transport Woman of the year, which then saw her nominated for the ATA  awards. She did not win, but we all support her and are proud of her efforts and achievements. So we had 10 members there and had another join during the convention, welcome Andy.

We had a debrief Saturday morning and I have written a piece for our NRFA members. We knew we could not and would not, change the world, but you have to be in it to win it. You can sit on the outside and whinge and complain, or you can go in, have a say and give it a shot. From conversations, contributions, questions, or simply from a comment, we hope to at the very least, made a difference, we may see it, we may never know, but achieve something valuable, but none of that will happen unless you attend.

You may well all be sick of me saying, join an association, you cannot do it alone, but when you join, you must do so with the intent of being a part of it and taking part. You can’t just pay your money and expect “someone” else to do it all. Every one of our members who attended, lost time and income from their own businesses or job, none of us have big companies behind us that will pay us to attend or keep going without us. I would like to thank all those NRFA members who attended and for their efforts whilst there. I do hope it was worthwhile, but only time will tell. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey

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1st May 2022 Not enough hours.

Goodaye all, off to Albury Sunday night, I reckon the CTI (central tyre inflation) on the steer could have saved me from at the least, a big fright and at worst, having the left hand steer tyre go flat as I hooked in at 100 kph through the sweeping right hand bend over the top (it is a long way down there) of the Hume Highway at the end of the Olympic Way. It went off and I thought it an unusual spot, no rain or slowed down for the pressure to change and all felt ok, but then it went off again with blow out front. It was of course, already putting air in to balance the loss and as I can see the pressure live, I knew it was not flat yet, so I slowed down, got down the road to where I could stop, found the piece of steel, (looked like a chain link opened up when we pulled it out the next morning) and so took the earliest exit and idled down to the BP for the night.

A delay in the morning, some ours too, phone messages not passed on etc, but it seems some low life had been slashing tyres round Albury and the tyre fellow was as busy as. Managed to do a repair, a clean in and out to plug, no other damage and that left me late enough, not to be able to get to Melbourne and reload, but then managed to get a service done at Twin City Kenworth. Took a bit longer than planned and did not get my one extra done. Leccy was too late back and they had waited hoping he would arrive in time, but I will prevail one day with this hanging on issue. Thanks for fitting me in.

Rest of the week I had planned, others had different plans, but got 4 legs in, service, picked up a couple of bits for Rod mods to the TIV for when I get those hours spare and home yesterday. Did a bit of sorting, then checked trailers to go, one tyre needed doing, then backing it in, thought front axle not right, found broken U bolt, run back to catch workshop, and that took up much more of my afternoon than I had planned.

After only near three full week-ends spare time, not full days or week-end of course, have managed to complete most of clear coat on bullbar. Wish I could have had it done by an expert, you won’t tell from 5 metres away, but will preserve paint on bar, just the front of the cab and fuel tanks to do now!!!

Still have some of the things I had planned to be done before it hit the road (like the clear coat), still to do, lights etc, but you can only do so much while working fulltime and on the road. Still managed to fit in a meeting with Transport for NSW for a couple of hours on rest areas on the Newell at Moree, Narrabri and Dubbo. Six others in meeting, but I had my say and I sincerely hope they are now listening. They did say the need for consultation only came up recently and I will take some credit, because I have certainly been giving them a hard, but respectful, time, saying they have been doing it wrong, not talking to those who sleep in such places and therefor, not PROVIDING US WITH PLACES TO SUITABLY MANAGE OUR FATIGUE.

Then another meeting with the ATA, as I will be presenting there on Thursday at their convention o the Gold Coast on “The Future of Truck Rest Areas”, so a big rest are couple of weeks. The ATA have come out in support of my National Truck Rest Area Strategy and I welcome that and will of course be pushing that hard and it is part of one of the following recommendations.

NRFA will have a delegation of 8 members attending and we aim to seek all association’s support for the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry.

Had an MRI, yes have torn the left bicep clean off, not too much pain, but what to do. Seeing doctor tonight for clearance from last one and hope he can stitch it up for me and back to work (in my dreams, you all know how keen I am) but we will see. Have to do shopping etc and could use another 10 hours for stuff, but not available, yet again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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24th April 2022 Truck rest areas an election topic?

The following is my overall reply to comments on Glen Sterle’s Facebook page, regarding funding for truck rest areas. As at the bottom, have any of you spoken, emailed or even raised this or any other transport issue, with your local candidates? Will you? If you don’t, will they even know of these issues, unlikely? I am not telling you or anyone how to vote, or who to vote for. As I have done, my local bloke is in government now, but I have put him on notice, these issues may influence how I vote. He could ignore me, but not hundreds of others who raise the same concerns, or will at his peril. If they don’t listen, then are they there for you and your problems?

We have all been told what a marvelous job we have done carrying the country through all this, but honestly, what have we got, bad roads, (yes councils too have staff and covid issues, but the road is our “unrecognised” workplace and it is OUR LIVES at risk) fines, delays, a ludicrous and virtually ignored “national freight protocal” and what did they do to our truckstops, closed them, opened them after we complained, then let police browbeat servos, staff and truckies who tried to eat. So we and want stuff done, yes we as truckies have been promised and told it will be fixed, but please show me anyone else who has had a goo and some success, as Glen has.

If you have a solution, if you have a local candidate who will help you and us, let me know, because I don’t know of one yet. I do not expect to change the outcome, I just want a fair go and some money for truck rest areas is to me, a good start.

Goodaye all, I will not answer everyone separately, but want to make a few things clear. I have never before seen or heard of any government, that will put up this sort of money for truck rest areas and I believe Glen when he tells me it is set to be available in the first budget. I agree it will not fix all our issues, but it is a good start and it will be decided by drivers as it says, not by pollies. It will not all go on new sites, there are a range of activities, from dealing with local councils to allow truck parking in industrial areas (for example like in Heathwood, where as in Sydney you will get a ticket) dealing with councils to try and arrange use of suitable stockpile sites, upgrading some sites and even providing some green reflector bays where there are large gaps now. Yes, one big need is Clybucca, but to simply spend all the money there or in two great big sites, will only help a few. We will seek input from drivers, we will have a plan ready for when the funding will be available, tentatively November if they are elected. I have sent an email to my local member, a Nat, asking if he is aware of the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry and asked why not a single one of the recommendations has been even considered by the current government. I have asked him to match both the Labor offer and to support implementation of the inquiry recommendations, but have not yet received a reply. I said his answers may influence how I vote. I would ask all of you, how many of you have asked your member what they will do for us? You are more then welcome to comment here, but how many of you will make the effort to put pressure on any or every person nominating for your vote? If you don’t, who will? If they are not even aware of the inquiry recommendations, how are they likely to support them and yes, they include the need for more truck rest areas. It will not fix it overnight, it will be a start and if the success Glen has had getting toilets cleaned etc is anything to go by, he won’t quit early either. How many of you have had a fuel company listen to you? No one can fix it all, someone has to try and make a start and if no one else makes any effort, except on social media, what do you think will change? Push and ask and seek your local member to do something, ANYTHING for road transport and we might just achieve something. Rod Hannifey.

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17th April 2022 Carting Rhinos and Stone the Crows!!

Goodaye all, you may call me the Rhino whisperer, but details to follow. Our southbound passenger took a bit of quieting before he would go into the cage and delayed our departure from Dubbo till 9.30 AM and it is about 13 hours driving to Monarto Park near Murray Bridge, but a few quick checks along the way showed he was travelling well. My human passenger has been at the Dubbo Zoo for 20 years and was required to accompany me to keep tabs and look after our male white Rhino who was off to visit some new lady friends.

We arrived around 11.30 PM, having of course needed to comply with logbook regs and were put up in the park, but then there was the “Nightshift” to chat on and I did beg off a bit early to get some sleep. The quarantine enclosure was off in a tight spot and took some manoeuvring to get in and I did put a small mark on the bottom of the bullbar on a rock I did and could not see, but don’t tell the driver, or he will be pissed even more then he was then.

I had to screw round inside a holding yard, miss some tree stumps and line up, to unload and then reload. Got some photos of the delivery before we left and hit the road again, but did some tree clearing with the trailer, to get out, but not a mark on it and they had wanted them removed for some time they said.

Another fairly quiet and simple trip and back into Dubbo late Tuesday and had arranged to sleep in the truck at the zoo, far too late to go home and had to be out again the next day. Got to bed after midnight and about 3AM, the truck was rocking that hard, I thought I would fall out of bed. No one else about of course and I thought, I will either find a problem and have to start ringing zoo people, talk to the Rhino and make it worse, or maybe, calm him down.

He was rockin and swayin, but seemed in one piece and we had a quick chat. I told him I was there and it was all good and he should go to sleep for now, till we let him out in the morning and I went back to bed and woke with the alarm after 6AM, so it seemed to work. Then it was to work and off to load enroute to a timeslot at Barnawartha for Thursday morning (any of you who deliver to Woolies DCs will know about the new Sine App needed) and it was my first time and did not go perfectly, but did get sorted.

I backed into the finger dock as a b-double, having passed their test some years ago, but that was an issue with Pilons based in Dubbo, but did get sorted after a few calls and some common sense prevailed. I had a problem with a gate, it would not go in the hole and slipped and put all the weight on my left arm, which was already sore from a fight with a trailer curtain last week.

But off to Melbourne, unload, back to the yard when Wayne had waited to loads me, Rick helped and cooked my tea while he was waiting for his new engine install to be finished. I had to get my Owner Driver column in, another story and then be in Wagga for the “Stone the Crows” Festival. It is one of the few venues where both caravanners and motorhomers attend together. You can stay for the four days of Easter or 7 and they have entertainment from comedy, music, poetry and many other activities.

So column and story done in to the shower and pop, it seems I have just done my left bicep. MMM, we will see how that goes and works out later. Then a call, Rick’s truck is ready, so I dropped him off to Cummins on the way out.

I was invited to the “Stone the Crows” some years ago by one of the organisers who used to be part of “Rig Radio” a national trucking radio show run out of the Wagga Community radio station and have attended (Covid stopped it for the last two years like so many other events) each Easter and done presentations of sharing the road with trucks and have many friends and supporters there. I ask, Pilons help with suitable loads and we had to push and squeeze a bit this year, but got there very early Friday morning. Yes I give up two days of my time, but I do feel it is worth it.

I did a one and half hour presentation, including the “Sharing Truck Rest Areas” and “Caravans and Roadtrains” videos done with Stephen from WhitelineTV at 3PM. At 11AM Saturday, I showed some photos and discussed my Churchill Fellowship trip, rest areas, Channel 18 and many other issues and on both days, had good questions, feedback and after my talks, invited people to have a look inside the cab. I must say the fold out steps on the K200 are a terrific help for this. Many RVers are getting on and whilst I am still happy to climb up and down, it is much safer for them with the steps and allows some who would not normally consider looking, a chance to do so safely.

At the 2017 Stone the Crows, a b-double amongst 400 plus caravans and motorhomes.

Numbers were down a bit on previous shows, but many attend this event each year and so I have already spoken and preached to many of those there, but still got questions, visits and comments, outside of my presentations. The truck was not perfectly clean and I only had one good looking trailer, still waiting for the b trailer of the 50 year Pilon set to be completed, but all were keen to chat and look and listen.

You cannot make people attend such things, but those who do, do so with at least an open mind and many have come to me after and said they had learned or at least, better understood some of our issues etc. I cannot get to them all, I can only get to those who want to listen and if I can educate some, perhaps they will carry that message to others, some even tell me it has happened from past presentations, let’s hope. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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10th April 2022 Trangie Truck Show. The wet show of the west.

Goodaye all, well it was with a wet set of clothes as I tried to wash the truck, the more I did the more it rained, so I gave in and thought, at least I will still be there. It was Saturday morning, having only got home late Friday afternoon and I did have some things to complete if I could, before the show. So I must thank the team at Simmos Signs Dubbo, not only for their help and design efforts, but for waiting till I got there after 5PM, me still dripping wet from unhooking etc and working till nearly 8PM, THANK YOU. I will follow up and show you their efforts next week.

Now many had arrived at Trangie early and had beautiful clean trucks (and one side of mine was) and it rained all the way out from Dubbo, some quite heavy and into the first hour of the show, but about 9 AM the rain lifted with only some sprinkles, till immediately after the ceremony and awards at the showgrounds around 3PM.

The organisers had said the show would go on and they stood their ground and I believe were rewarded with someone said, near or perhaps over 200 vehicles entered across all categories, cars, bikes, trucks and tractors, so well done to all who braved the weather to attend, to all the organisers and crew behind them for what turned out to be a terrific effort.

Yes they had truck awards, but I was unaware till the end that they are starting a Hall of Fame and whilst they don’t have a hall yet (but the mayor was there presenting and they did put him on the spot for the hall) they inducted the first 6 members, all locals and industry stalwarts and long time transport operators.

It was said the Hall of Fame at Alice is a long way away and to have something very nearly in the centre of NSW would be good for the industry and a couple did make some big claims that with better weather and local support etc, it could go on to become a very serious and special industry event and I wish them all the best.

Given the weather, it can be assumed some of the people from further away may have decided it was too much and whilst there were not hundreds of cars, there were some nice ones and some unusual ones on show. I planned to get a photo of the grand car winner,  but he got away, though I do hope to follow up next week if I can with all the winners and details, but the TRANGIE TRUCK SHOW Facebook page will cover it all for you to look at.

I had planned to provide some photos, but have spent the afternoon tyring to fit clear coat to the bullbar as it has started to chip. I had planned to have it fitted before it hit the road, but all the things which delayed it and see me still trying to complete it to where I can simply work, meant that was not possible. I got most of the bars done, but still have more to do and have to be early to load my rhino in the morning to go to a game park in SA. It will be an interesting trip and I am bringing another home, trying then to get to Melbourne and be back in Wagga for the “Stone the Crows” festival where I will do presentations on Easter Friday and Saturday about sharing the road with trucks.

So as always a quiet, restful and nothing to do week-end visiting Dubbo. But I love doing much of it, though it does frustrate me at times and of course has an impact on my family that I will never be able to compensate for. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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3rd April 2022 Visiting home again.

Goodaye all. Home for a visit after two weeks away in the Western Province and I must give a big thank you to Transport SA for getting behind the green reflectors and marking many bays north from Port Augusta, almost to the border. Someone we both know had been marking them as time permitted etc and after a call from James at Big Rigs regarding a story they had printed about green reflectors going up on the Princess Highway last year, I chased them and Transport SA and spoke with a fellow there.

Whilst I haven’t heard back from him directly since then, there are far more up now than before and no one else is silly enough to do it on their own. They are using the correct reflectors, their spacings are good and all we need now is some posters to make other drivers aware of them. I asked a few on the way back and forth and some knew, but others didn’t and both agreed it was a good idea and thanked me for making them aware.

I am currently working with a Victorian road safety group and hope to mark some of the overlap bays for the wire rope on the Hume Highway. I have been in contact with Vicroads since they started putting the stuff up and yes, it may well save some car drivers lives, but it has made it impossible for us in trucks to stop safely on the shoulder for any reason at all.

So I asked for some wider bays, but they only did a few and they weren’t marked in any way (but they did retain and surround the northbound bays already marked), but then I had another discussion when they announced they were doing the whole length of the Hume and I asked for more.

They changed the overlaps in the wire and now we have places that you can pick out a bit ahead in the daytime, but they are virtually invisible at night till you are on them, hence the ongoing, now into 18 months, aim to mark them with green reflectors and it looks as though the only way it will happen, is with the help of this group.

It is I fear much like so many things to do with trucks, people with good intent, do not have a real clue and whilst they aim to help, more often than not, they either don’t or make it worse. In the phone hook up I did with the NTC HVNL review fellow, he truly asked, “Are all these fines for logbooks etc real, the {Police say it is not an issue” and for them, it is simply another ticket, an easy mark and another strike against a driver. “Yes I said, they are real, bullshit, overzealous and the penalties and the level of them, have nothing to do with road safety and that is why I wrote to every Police Commissioner in Australia.

 They said fix the law and I thought that this review was supposed to do that and yet here we are, still asking for a fair go and still waiting for it to be fixed and drivers are still getting large penalties for clerical errors. This must be fixed now, not in another three of four years.

All washed and clean in Kewdale, ready to load then back to the border.

Loaded out of Perth, ad some tarp fun, two rolled up inside out, one was a rigid tarp, no shorteners at all and the other only bottom ones, so with two trailers to load and three short length tarps, not my best tarp job, but made it work and got it home.

Truck in for service tomorrow and back to work Tuesday, but hoping to get a few other jobs done, including some further signwriting etc. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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29th March 2022 Westbound and Down.

Goodaye all, seems I am roadtraining all this month, Sunday evening headed for Peth with a b-triple. Fairly standard trip over, I was the last of four to leave (trying to get as much done in my 28 hours home) and arrived first, but one did a changeover, another had an engine problem that was “fixed” and then became a major engine problem, like, needing a new engine, so he was held up a bit more.

I got in to Perth, dropped the back trailer and got the two “A” trailers unloaded Wednesday afternoon and the third Thursday morning, did ring and see if I could load early, but was told no, noon WA time Friday, so was given the chance to get the lot washed, did some shopping down the road etc during my 24 hour break and then headed out Friday.

I was then asked would I do a changeover at the border and then go back again. Why not! Made it back to the border Saturday evening where the other driver was waiting, changed over giving him the b-triple and picking up a roadtrain and headed back, nearly making it to Balladonia and then getting back to Northam at 5PM Perth time Sunday, only to be told the Roadtrain Permit allowing them to travel under escort into Perth still had a curfew on Sunday night and we would have to wait.

By the time I would have been able to split, go in and do the dog run and then come back, I was still quicker into Perth and saved probably 100 litres of fuel, so sat and waited, chatting and in the end, we had a convoy. WA Transport Inspector and four roadtrains and due to the time, it may have been the last escort. The lady at the bus at Northam said they had done over 400 roadtrains, some singly and up to three at a time during the period the escorts were in place.

It must be said there are two things to comment on, first is obviously the WA government recognised the need to help the transport industry and went to the pretty unusual effort of arranging staff, signs and co-ordinating it all to allow roadtrains to travel all the way into Perth. On the other side, why can a PBS “A” double at the same weights, the same number of axles and only 5 or 6 metres shorter, do it every day anyway?

With all the current roadworks between Perth and Northam, I was told it was towards allowing 36 metre roadtrains into Perth in the future. There is a 40k speedlimit, cameras and arrester beds on Greenmount, so it is not like you drive along and go, “Oh Goodness, there is a big hill here I didn’t know about”  and whilst there are bigger hills and others in other cities, what else is needed to make it safe?

The WA Inspectors I either spoke with or who escorted me in the two times (and there is no need for an escort outbound, just have your flashing light at the rear and observe the curfews) were affable and helpful. So our convoy got into Perth about 9.30PM Sunday night and as it was due to finish at midnight, may have been the last.

Having had another of our drivers offer to do the second trailer unload (Thanks Neil) which saved me time and then meant I could take part in another of the “Driving Health” podcasts, of which the last of 6 happens on Wednesday and I would encourage you all to look it up, either directly or via Monash University who is running them and I would welcome your comments.

Time now for an NRFA Board meeting, my spot on Nightshift, then a radio interview with my local Dubbo station and a late sleep in before I load. Now I have to either do a dogrun or find another way out as a roadtrain and I am looking into that for when I load tomorrow. Hope to be back on that side of the world by next Saturday/Sunday. Till then Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. And then the phone played up, so a day later, such is life.

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20th March 2022 A roadtrain here and a roadtrain there.

Goodaye all, been a big week at work, roadtrains here and roadtrains there. Had to reconfigure the triple at Bourke to have the right trailers in place to unload, then off to Mt isa, thought I was going back again after returning to Dubbo, but then for the second trip, did a changeover at Barcaldine, then back to Dubbo, off to Broken Hill, into Parkes, back to Dubbo, then Newcastle and another changeover at Kiga Bore rest area, home this morning and off to Perth tomorrow, third time lucky?

So got to take part in the first “Driving Health” podcast series done by Monash University on Monday after unloading two of my three trailers at a mine, then was to take part in an NTC session, but they ignored my email reply, asking them to send me a link to my phone. Have since contacted them and have a one-on-one session booked for next week.

Into Mt Isa, out the next day with two trailers to pick up a truck at Cloncurry and third trailer at McKinley. I must say the facilities at the Cloncurry saleyards are excellent, good showers, a kitchen nearly, bbq and all, well done and were about to be pressure cleaned after I had my shower. It can be done, we just need more such sites available.

A well [placed, set up and cleaned shower block, thank you to Cloncurry Council.

Second trip took one b-double and dolly out to Bourke, had more trouble than I thought hooking up the second b-double, being dark and in the rain and mud, did not help. But once on the way all good. A top heavy load on the drop deck was interesting over some trainlines, but got to Barcaldine, only to have the fellow I changed over with, have tyre trouble the next day.

Redirected to Parkes, loaded there for Dubbo, missed the taskforce at the parking bay on the northside and had one driver ring me and complain about the use of one of our very popular and much needed rest areas as an interception point, specifically about possibly waking drivers etc. Why not use the weighbridge site just down the road?

Had a listen to the first six “Health in Gear” podcasts and I believe the one I did for them has just been released this week. Some good advice from the other ambassadors involved and if it helps one driver with an issue, then well worth the effort to make them and for drivers to listen to them. Give them a go and let me know what you think.

Seems my timing was near perfect on the run out to Broken Hill, slept on the way out and missed the first big storm, unloaded and headed back and they had a deluge that night according to another driver. Should be all gone and sorted for tomorrow I hope.

Finally got a chance to wash the truck, it looks good when clean, but still have some minor things to add, complete and sort. It will take a few months, but will aim to have complete for when the interim trailers are ready. Hope you enjoy the photos, a couple of drivers asked me was I lost, a couple commented on the new truck, but a change is like a holiday they say, still keen for those new trailers. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.