Goodaye all, I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) breakfast, so in early and both a yoghurt /fruit then a hot breakfast set me up for the day. As with yesterday the speaker was intuitive, informative and entertaining. I did the rounds checking out stands, spoke with a couple more new members, enlisted a couple more during the day and got some photos.
The old and the older.
It is certainly a pity some of the big players pulled out of the show, many reasons may have been the factors, but the show must go on and has done well, with a crowd outside the main door this morning waiting for entry. The organisers have been happy with the turn out so far when I asked on the way out this evening. Thank you very much to ICEPACK Services for the invite to their evening get together just over the road. A terrific crew who have been TIV supporters for many years.
Old and new and new and newer.
Expecting a big day tomorrow and enjoying speaking with friends and colleagues. My most interesting moment came when a driver asked was I Rod Hannifey and then went on to say I had saved his mates life recently. I asked how and his mate had been driving and without any suitable spots to park had got to the point of being very tired and needing to stop and came upon the green reflectors and was able to pull off the road safely and get some sleep. Those are the things that make my efforts worthwhile. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all, no photos yet, will take camera tomorrow, but first day of the Brisbane Truckshow, the biggest trucking event in the Southern Hemisphere they billed it as, at the welcome breakfast this morning and they may well be right. From I think 21 exhibitors they quoted at the first Brisbane Truckshow at the old woolstores at Rocklea many years ago, to over 300 today.
From industry magazines and associations, to ancillary equipment, all the way up to the flashest blue trucks you will see in a while. Seems to be a theme with Western Star, Freightliner and Kenworth all in very similar hues of royal blue, but then trailers in all colours and configurations.
So I visited many of the sponsors of the TIV, a couple of NRFA and hope to have some more hopefully in the future for possibly tyres and a couple of other extras and discussing and looking for a better fuel deal for members with our current supplier, previously Caltex, now rebranding back to Ampol. We signed up perhaps a dozen new members today, the logbook dividers were well received by drivers and we had some good inquiries and in depth discussions with many stand visitors.
I signed up to Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds, did my planned health check at Health in Gear, who now have their first mobile van parked at the Kenworth stand, getting a pass, but a little hard to get a complete picture as one, wearing my sling to protect from back slappers and bumping for the shoulder injury/surgery and two, out of the truck and my semi-normal routine, but well worth the effort, cholesterol and Blood pressure good, so will be rearing to get back on the road in the new truck, now due on the road in July.
Thanks to all who dropped in, gave me their time and I hope to do it all again, tomorrow. Come and visit if you are at the show, stand 32 in the foyer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all, sorry for the late blog, a busy week-end and had to have my column in early for Owner Driver magazine, as with the truckshow, they will be tied up later this week. The Brisbane Truckshow starts tomorrow and NRFA has a stand, number 32 in the foyer. Come along and visit us and join up. For those that join we will have my personally designed logbook divider sheet, with all the road authority numbers you need to ring up and report on road issues across Australia, along with other hopefully valuable information.
Some drivers I speak to have never used these avenues to report issues, some will not think anything will be done or they will simply not be listened to, but for example, how can someone in Brisbane know about the big dip at the Julia Creek turnoff south of Kynuna, unless someone reports it. Yes there is a local crew, but they have hundreds of kilometres to travel and repair and may not pick it up for some time. But if you think it warrants reporting, you can then help them to get it fixed earlier, perhaps helping reduce a risk to another driver, lessening or removing yet one more possible impact that may cause a component failure, if not then, but possibly thousands of kilometres later.
Victoria are currently the only state who will give you a reference number, but I have rang all but the NT and WA in the last few years and whilst some things take more time and may not be fixed as soon as we would like, the more reasoned and safety related complaints, the more likely the road authority is likely to act and fix the problem. One call may not see it fixed, but 5 may then make them think, this must be an issue and if we don’t fix it, we could be held liable. You must never abuse the person taking the call, they did not fail, they are simply taking the message and will aim to report it. You must be as succinct with the location as you can, so they know where and can then direct a crew to the problem and again, if you relate it to a road safety issue, they will be more likely to act.
This will be a short chat, I aim to do a blog with some pictures each night till Sunday and hope to be home Monday. I have been a good boy doing my exercises, they will be next after a shower, I have tried hydrotherapy, twice in the heated pool, went to physio before leaving Dubbo and will again when home Tuesday. Movement range of the shoulder is increasing slowly, sleep has improved now as I do not have to wear the sling to bed, but I am told to wear it in crowds, to both avoid people giving me the pat on the shoulder and with it on, you may get a slightly wider berth, thereby reducing the risk of it being bumped or hit. There is also the risk of an automatic and often instant but impossible to stop, reaction to an impact that could still undo the surgery before it has had time to fully heal.
So if you are planning to visit the Brisbane Truckshow, come and say hello and I will of course be seeking support from those who have confirmed participation in the next TIV and always happy to have others involved. Till tomorrow night, I hope and plan so far, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all. It has been a busy week. After the NSW Centre for Road Safety meeting in Dubbo last week, there was also a follow up survey that I completed in some detail, expanding on some of the subjects that allowed more than just a yes or no answer and then there was another meeting offered as online, but once committed and then participating, I found it was also in conjunction with a Sydney meeting, Tuesday at 6PM. So, I spent another two hours putting forward a truckies views to a small group through zoom. That left me time Wednesday to write and outline my summing up for the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry in Canberra, at which I had been offered a half hour spot as the new President of the National Road Freighters Association.
Last year I had put in a written submission, at a time when few truckies had, then I was given an invite to speak at the Albury oral submissions with the then President of NRFA. I was able to get to Albury, sleep for the night and then Gordon picked me up from the truck and they allowed me to speak first, as I was loaded for Melbourne and had to get in, get unloaded and get reloaded and back out that day.
So this invite was a bonus and knowing the amount of time we had, I rang and asked could I lodge it in writing when I appeared, to make sure I wasn’t forced to leave something out, due to the timeframe. I was however asked to submit online, both so my points could be confirmed as within the terms of reference, but could also then be put before all those on the inquiry, some of whom were doing so by videoconferencing. That meant I had to write and submit it that afternoon, as we were leaving 5.30 AM Thursday morning.
When offered the spot and still being slingbound, I knew I could not drive, so put out a call on our NRFA WhatsApp and a new member to the board, elected when I had been, offered to take the day off, drive into Dubbo and stay Wednesday night, then drive down Thursday, take part and then return that evening. With Craig’s permission, as I did not want to take up even more of his time and delay him further from returning to work Friday, I sought meetings with the new Ceo of the Australian Trucking Association, and then Natroad and the Livestock Bulk and Rural Carriers Association in Canberra Thursday.
So another 1300 words submitted, then off early Thursday, arriving at Parliament house at 10.30, pretty much as we had planned, where I had to get Craig to give me a hand to put my belt back on after the metal detector would not let me through. Bloody sling! My submission covered 5 issues, each of which do affect my safety on the road, then three issues that would make the job better, if not specifically, safer.
We listened to a couple of submissions in front of us, had to leave for one which was in camera only, so grabbed a coffee then returned for our spot, but some had gone on a bit longer and we only started at 12.30 but pretty much finished just after 1PM and knowing it was all lodged, was happy to keep to the time allotted. We headed off happy with what he had got across and drove over to the ATA building, where all three groups I had hoped to visit, have offices.
In ringing NRFA members, one had raised an issue and I had followed up with Bec from LBRCA and she had not only congratulated me on my election as President, but had been very keen to work together in the future. At the LBRCA AGM in Dubbo, which I had attended with and thanks to Karina from the Newell Highway and Dubbo Bypass group, I had raised some issues, specifically about NSW RMS and truck rest areas and had both followed up sending the details to Bec, but also with the RMS staff who had attended as well. When I spoke with her about the Brisbane port issue, Bec was also very interested in our Triple P paper, Withdrawing Police powers to Police the HVNL, so I have sent her copies of that and the National Rest Area Strategy.
I had received an email before we left, that the Natroad Ceo would not be in, Bec from LBRCA had texted me while in chambers she was off crook and that meant we were a bit early for the ATA, but we went and asked if early was good, but he was tied up, so we grabbed a quick bite of lunch and then returned for our chat. The new Ceo of the ATA, Andrew McKellar had himself appeared before the Senate Inquiry the day before, but has only been in his new role for a short time, hence my making the effort to meet with him whilst in Canberra. Andrew was very generous with his time, was frank and very open about issues and I do hope we can work together towards mutual industry solutions to the problems that have plagued us for so long. I have sent him a copy of my submission and asked his support for both the National Rest Area Strategy and the National Road Standard.
My other big job this week has been to design from scratch, a logbook divider and flyers for NRFA which I must have to the printers tomorrow morning to have in time for the Brisbane Truckshow. It also has photos and all our member benefits and logos etc and has taken me hours, so not so many phone calls this week.
And just so you don’t think I have been bludging, I have started physio twice a week, have to do ten lots of exercises with heat pack first, exercise, then cold pack, three times everyday and whilst movement of the shoulder is slowly improving, the pain in both has got worse and sleeping is still difficult. But such is life and I know it will get better as I go along. I am not allowed to do any strength exercises till at least 14 weeks, all this is to get it to that point. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all, you might well accuse me of cheating, in attaching the submission below, but just to show I have not been sitting and degenerating while watching daytime tv, this will attempt to show I have kept busy. I have continued ringing NRFA members and am now into non-financial members, trying to convince them to re-join, so another hundred phone calls this week and I was made aware of a NSW Centre for Road Safety meeting on Wednesday evening, so attended and had a chance to raise some issues.
There was another NRFA member there and others of the possibly 50 or so, also raised some of the same and similar issues we all want addressed as drivers. I have done the post meeting survey so I got another hit there and as you will see below, have just finished four pages and about 2,300 words, just to have another say and the submissions close to this on the 29th April, so if you want to have a say, there is still a chance for you.
Again, don’t copy what I have written, even if you agree with it, but if something is really important to you, then lodge something. The email is wwwtowardszero.nsw.gov.au/2026plan
TRUCKRIGHT ABN 17426245866
TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) Ten Years on the road, 2019.
NSW Centre for Road Safety 2026 Road Safety Forum. I asked was this towards the National Road Safety Strategy and was told, yes.
I was able to attend the meeting held in Dubbo on Wednesday 21st April and raised a number of these issues, but was told I could email all until the 29th April, hence the following.
I have read through the documentation provided and make the following comments. Firstly I am aware both of the failure of the previous strategy to reach it’s goals and the criticism of this new document, in not having suitable accountability and tracking against the road toll.
I am a fulltime interstate b-double truck driver and the road is my workplace, yet it is still not recognised as such. My life not only depends on safe roads, but suitable rest sites and facilities and sufficient education of motorists about sharing the road with trucks, which to now have all but been ignored.
You quote fatigue as being a major factor, citing 80% of single vehicle crashes veer off the road on one side or the other, yet nothing has been done to ensure there are suitable and sufficient rest areas, let alone specifically for truck drivers who must not only manage their fatigue for their own safety, but must also be legally compliant with inflexible rules and substantial penalties if they don’t comply. The last study done by Austroads in 2012 confirmed not one of our major highways met the minimum number of truck rest areas required, let alone the lack of and access to, toilets etc.
Current log book laws do not take account of individual drivers needs and metabolism, let alone the fact that most of the factors that affect my ability to do the job safely, are out of my control. Loading and unloading site delays, traffic, including lack of planning for trucks, lack or good quality truck rest areas with toilets and shade and this is getting worse and even more so in cities, roadworks, crashes and other factors completely out of my control. Yes I can anticipate, make allowances, but the laws and those who police them don’t!
There needs to be better and more detailed crash investigations and a study of deemed fatigue truck crashes against the availability of suitable and sufficient truck rest areas. In my 20 plus years on the road, in all that time I have seen fewer than 10 cars pulled up and asleep in car rest areas, yet these sites cost money to build, more often than not have good shade, facilities and toilets, that are then by design and signage, in accessible to truck drivers. This is a complete and utter waste and under utilisation of roadside rest areas. They need to be designed to suit both to improve the value for money spent. The costs are exploding and for too many years trucks, have been lucky to get a bit of dirt with a bin.
The Pacific Highway is now arguably the best road in Australia, but we have gone backward with the number of truck rest areas, losing more with each bypass and road section improvement when we have never had enough on this road. Ten years ago I wrote, emailed and rang RTA saying they must include a changeover facility on the new road. They knew of the traffic and issues at the BP Clybucca, yet did nothing! This to my thoughts is nearing on criminal negligence, knowing of a problem, yet completely ignoring it. The road transport industry has changed practices to have drivers take a loaded truck, so no loading or unloading, meet another half-way, then return to their own bed, yet road authorities took 30 years to do this on the Hume and now have ignored the second biggest truck traffic route.
I travel the Newell Highway weekly. There are not enough rest areas. RMS have just duplicated nearly 40 kilometres of road south from Boggabilla. I contacted them when they started, during the works and again at completion. I asked would they at the absolute minimum, guarantee that we would not lose the current informal truck sites within these works. They spent money on one bay, yet made it worse, removing our access to shade, making it smaller band changing the camber, so the money actually was doubly wasted, it made it worse than it was before they started. So I rang and explained why, again asking not to lose more sites. We have gone from approximately 28 b-doubles spaces back to 6 in this section, only two of those spaces are well clear of the road giving you any chance of sleep and then they tore up 40 kilometres of free parking bays, actually spending money to tear up the old and now unused road. This after I contacted them explaining the needs of tired truckies. This is the third time it has happened and I can document the others as well.
You can clearly see on the map of fatalities you have provided, the path of the New England Highway, so this road needs improvement.
There are no real truck facilities in Dubbo, yet it is the crossroads of NSW. This is criminal. Driver Revivor sites can be helpful, but some exclude truckies saying we are professionals, some you simply can’t park a truck near them and some leave signs out saying they are open and then when you get there, they have gone home and I find this a serious issue, you have planned a break, say hello and have a cuppa, then with no one there, you feel much worse.
I do recognise and support wide centre lines, though will say this must not be done at the expense or loss of road shoulders and audio tactile line marking, though currently this is not as effective for trucks and could be better.
You, I am concerned, have again misused truck figures to demonise truck drivers, quoting 17% of fatalities involve heavy vehicles. Your presenter did make comment on at fault, but you cannot continue to do this without looking at kilometres travelled. I travel 200,000 kilometres per year to the average motorists 20,000, so my level of exposure and risk is ten times that of a car driver. I have figures from a previous study in 2014 that articulated trucks are responsible for only 6% of fatalities and that 710 truck drivers were involved in fatalities that were not their fault. Yet no one ever tells this truth or recognises the issues for those drivers!
Heavy vehicle fines and penalties for offences which have nothing to do with road safety, the way police punish drivers for what are often mistakes, but carry heavy monetary fines, simply increase anxiety and contribute to mental health problems. This is even more exacerbated by the way truckies are treated at crash sites, whether they are at fault or not and again, none of this improves road safety.
The placement of speed cameras in Dubbo warrants mention. The two regular places I see, one at the bottom of a hill and one over a steep hill, are both sites with little to no cross traffic, crash events, yet other places with real issues are ignored. This shows they are only to make money, not do one thing to improve road safety.
New phone detection cameras on the highways stick out like beacons, so can be avoided by all but those not watching the road. All too often now in trucks, we can see down into cars where people have their phones on their laps to avoid camera and police detection, and all this means they are looking even further away from the road to see and use their phones. It is getting worse, but as truckies, phones are not just a part of business, they are often our only lifeline to family and any sort of a normal life having friends. We are not perfect either and the ambient noise in trucks can be a problem, but most are set up legally.
Road conditions, bad design or building and then on top of that, bad or sub-standard repairs continue to affect my safety on the road. I do ring road authorities and detail such issues, but there is a section of road just south of Yelarbon where they have just done work, that I have been asking for that work for over 5 years. It was an undulating section that could see the wheels of a loaded b-double off the road surface, that had skid marks flowing off the side of the road, which engineers agreed was a problem after I again for the tenth time, complained it was dangerous, yet it took nearly 6 years to get repairs started!
Blinding lights at roadworks, lights left on blinding traffic with very little road width, cars fitting illegal aftermarket headlights without load levelling suspensions and vehicles towing caravanswioth the same issues are other issues.
In am asking for four things, that if introduced and properly acted on, would each alone, improve my safety on the road, but together, would make a substantial difference to the road toll and not all will cost a lot above now, just better use of those funds plus a bit more.
Inclusion of some form of education about sharing the road with trucks at or before initial licensing test. I have promoted the Truckies Top Ten Tips which are now available as videos at no cost at www.sharetheroad.net.au and have emailed and suggested such inclusions a number of times to state road authorities over the last ten years. Please look at learner driver information and questions, there is nearly nothing about trucks and there was less before I complained last time.
We need a National Road Standard, so that if I have a 2m piece of pipe and laid on the road there is for example more than 200mm gap, then it must be repaired within a certain time. Trucks see and feel such failures and deformities first and hardest, not only do these impacts affect the trucks, possibly contributing to parts failure down the road, they affect my safety in that truck, the cost to maintain that truck and those impacts then flow into my body over thousands of kilometres and impacts, then they go back into the road. Many drivers ask, why must our trucks be roadworthy, when the roads are not truck worthy? Trucks are blamed for damaging the roads, yet if the road is built up to a standard and not down to a cost, if will last longer, cost less to maintain and trucks will simply travel over it, instead of all such impacts going into the truck, then the driver, increasing my fatigue in trying to keep the truck on the road, then impacts back into the road. The truck I drive can record and locate such impacts, one of the worst, a failed culvert showing a 2.3g impact. At that weight I would be grounded and severely fined, yet the road can do that to the truck and I without consequence or recourse. This is a simplified version listing the issues, but it could be done and truckies would happily report failures, as the earlier they are reported, the quicker and more importantly to road authorities, the cheaper they are to fix, as they only ever get bigger and worse, perhaps then to the point of being a contributing factor to a crash.
We need a National Rest Area Strategy. We now have national guidelines for the design of truck rest areas, but there is no mandate to build them, no requirement not to remove any, even informal sites without replacing them and no mandatory inclusion of rest areas to be included in new roads and or reconstruction. I can quote and specify many realignments of roads where the old road has then been torn up, with no consideration whatsoever of not only the possibility of virtually free truck rest areas, often with good shade, but they would save money by not tearing up every square inch of possible rest area. In some places now, we are going backwards, yet the number of trucks and cars continue to climb and everyone knows fatigue contributes to crashes, yet what has really been done to fight this?
I have been promoting the use of green reflectors for marking informal truck bays for over 20 years in a 3,2,1 format which is now recognised with formal guidelines in Qld and NSW. I have had drivers tell me I have saved their life with this simple cheap and effective way of marking informal truck bays, yet I am still struggling to get one state to act on it fully, let alone get it national. It was initially envisaged as an interim measure till we had enough truck rest areas, but now it is even more important with truckstops closing, the loss of many informal sites, particularly with town by passes
This last is not as critical, but with the growing number of caravans and motorhomes on the road and the fact they can sometimes be getting close to the size of a semi-trailer, yet with the larger style of what is called a fifth wheeler, so a large tow vehicle with a small turntable, so it is an articulated combination, yet nothing has been done towards at the least a course and perhaps more validly, the need for a license class, test and relevant standards for such combinations.
Thank you for this opportunity, I do hope it is both taken seriously and with genuine intent. Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all. Well week four with my sling and outside of the task of ringing every member of the National Road Freighters Association, up to nearly 100 so far, I have been typing merrily away one handed, but making lots of corrections as I go. We now have a confirmed site at the Brisbane Truckshow, so I and other members of NRFA will be on the stand to say hello and get you to join. We will have a dinner date for members one night, so join up and come along.
The show looks set to have very wide industry support and coverage, with many other activities aligned with it for the duration of the show.
I still need a few more truckies, perhaps a couple from SA or Tassie for the hazard perception study, another tanker driver and a couple of general carters to round it out. If you drive fulltime and can give me 15 or 20 minutes, please give me a call. 0428120560
I will be visiting many of the TIV sponsors and hopefully encouraging a couple more to participate, so am still working on the next one, but lots still to do. I have been given a spot as the NRFA President at the Senate Inquiry in Canberra to wrap up from our point of view. I will thank all of our members who have contributed so far and believe we would be by individual numbers, the largest group to put in submissions.
Speaking of things you can do, submissions to the National Road Safety Strategy has closed and from a truckies view, we are again getting blamed for far more than our share of the problems on the road. But there is a chance for you to still have a say. The NHVR is calling for submissions till the end of the month and I will put mine at the bottom for your comments.
Don’t think I want you to just steal a bit or copy, I do want you to go to the NHVR website and read the document and think and reply. We don’t get the chance to contribute often enough, so don’t miss this one! You may just want to raise one issue or ten, you might want to challenge some thing the NHVR is saying, but don’t whinge about it after it closes and we haven’t been listened to, have a say, it won’t kill you and might even help another truckie in the future.
TRUCKRIGHT ABN 17426245866
TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) Ten Years on the road, 2019.
To the NHVR, I would like to submit the following towards your Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy.
On page 4 you speak of employees knowing appropriate safety behaviours that lead to rewards. Currently the whole of the enforcement task has been based on punishment, there is no reward, no recognition of previous behaviour, only fines and penalties. I recognise that as you take over individual state road authorities you are standardising training and that the NHVR is speaking of education before enforcement, but that has not been the case for the last 30 years, nor do you have any control whatsoever over how Police “interpret” laws under the HVNL, nor do you have any input or control then, over how individual states review and or further punish, so called offenders. Until this changes, you have one system where you are aiming to improve but the other enforcers will be allowed to continue unabated and will possibly destroy some of your good work.
How the NHVR will change Cultures and behaviour. You speak of effective fatigue risk management systems, but no current system will overcome the current deficit of truck rest areas. What good is any system, if you have left fit for duty, planned your trip and you become tired and you are told to stop and manage your fatigue with no where to do so. It is my belief that such shortages have led to fatigue crashes and whilst I do recognise the possible driver aids available with some technologies, relying on them alone will not solve the problem.
The inherent lack of flexibility with the current system will continue to fail drivers and either force them to drive tired to be legal and get there, and or to stop and rest when they cannot sleep for any number of reasons. I do hope the current HVNL review will go someway to alleviate these issues, but again, to those pushing for EWDS etc, you must provide both the flexibility and the rest areas first, before going to a system that will count you out and punish you with no feelings or understanding of how hard you tried, to be both compliant and safe.
Delivering visible, targeted, compliance activities. I welcome and applaud this with one caveat, you have no control over how the Police act, so unless you do, some could well undermine your good work and intent.
Influencing other road users’ behaviour around heavy vehicles. I have been involved with this specific aim for over 20 years and notwithstanding the fact I have received funding both directly and indirectly from some of your programs, I will say you have done more than any before you to change this problem. You have come to it late, but I am happy to promote and support current and further efforts to reduce crashes from those not taught to share the road with trucks.
Safer vehicles and increased uptake of safety technology. The next TIV will have most of this technology and some others. The just retired one had much of it, but to be truthful, I was never asked to expound on it and perhaps that was a missed opportunity? But happy to work with you and get that knowledge and information to other drivers and truck buyers.
Vehicle Maintenance. I agree absolutely with your intent, with again one caveat. In the past some without real sufficient knowledge have used this as punishment, eg sending a driver with a crack in a windscreen that was not dangerous, a small single bald patch on one tyre or a single light out for costly and ridiculous major full vehicle inspections. If you can remove such over-zealous stupidity from current enforcement, along with over the top Police grandstanding about infringements found and fined for, with absolutely no requirement to tell the truth or be held accountable for their behaviour. In these such “blitzes”, the more they ramp it up and lie, the worse we look and the more they can self-perpetuate such abuses.
Influence road network design to support safe heavy vehicles. We need a NATIONAL ROAD STANDARD, to which not only road authorities can be held, but also road builders and repairers. Even when some roads and or repairs are new, they are not built properly and or to the proper standard for safe road use. When they either fail and or as you suggest increase the risk of a crash, then it is too little too late and the maintenance costs and the possibility of causing or contributing to a crash, will only continue to increase. Wire rope from end to end on the Hume, Tycannah Creek Bridge south of Moree opened as a roller coaster and overtaking lanes south of Peak Hill failing within weeks of completion and no one is held to account.
Number and quality of rest stops. As mentioned above, we are not only behind in providing safe and sufficient truck rest areas, we are going backwards. We need a NATIONAL REST AREA STRATEGY
We now have national guidelines for truck rest area design, but no national policy to enforce it, let alone see one single truck rest area built. Yes we have some state programs, but they do not consider trucks, the current freight task, growing traffic, issues of truck parking in cities, let alone the growing problems of more restrictions, but also local trucks taking up spaces as free parking in truck stops or the added pressure of the annual caravan invasions. Then we have new roads and or alignments that take away current safe shoulders, by pass towns and then we lose 50 spots and get one parking bay with 10 spaces at ridiculous cost.
The Pacific Highway has never had enough truck bays and whilst it is now a much better road and may well take some traffic off the Newell, we have lost more parking bays than we have gained. Even worse than that, there was never any thought given to a proper change over facility, even when RMS knew of the hazards and congestion that occurred at Clybucca. I told them 15 years ago that such a site must be included in the Pacific Highway upgrades, we had only waited for 30 years to get one on the Hume and even it was badly designed and now the Pacific is completed, there is still nothing and insufficient truck bays for the increasing number of trucks which will only continue to grow.
I could go on and I recognise you are not currently responsible for such sites and I truly welcome your participation in this most critical of issues and do hope you can achieve something in the future.
Safe heavy vehicle road use. As a b-double driver, I understand the need for some restrictions, but there have been times, when by mistake, or by diversion due to a crash or roadworks, I have been sent on a road that was not a b-double route. Yet there has never been a road I could not safely travel along or exit safely from. In my view the penalty far exceeds the damage you suggest could happen. I will then go the other way and say I have seen drivers who can’t negotiate on a safe and permitted road, but that is all about proper driver training and while not under your direct control, I think needs much focus and hopefully resolution, that will provide safer truck drivers on the road. But too often the enforcement I have seen and heard of, was mostly overzealous and had nothing to do with road safety. Once you get into type 1 and then type 2 roadtrains, that is completely another matter.
Thank you for this opportunity to contribute and I look forward to your continuing efforts to improve road safety for all. Rod Hannifey, Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate and President NRFA.
I will attach the last video from the TIV. Again the light was dying, so the quality is not that good, but the sentiment and I hope, the passion will ring through. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all. Three weeks of 6 in my sling, dressings off and wounds healing nicely, but sleeping still the biggest problem, though keeping busy typing with left hand and on the phone. I am currently working my way through ringing all financial members of the National Road Freighters Association to say Goodaye and to do a hazard perception survey for trucks.
We have had a few new members join and I ask any of you who want to see change and are not involved elsewhere, give a thought to joining. The more members we have, the better we will be recognised and then hopefully more able to achieve change. We aim to have a stand at the upcoming Brisbane Truckshow next month.
Next week is chase all the bits and pieces for the new TIV week. There are a few pretty bits I am keen on and I need a sponsor for some stainless work etc. There is a lot of effort goes into tying it all together when you are dealing with many of the suppliers individually, but without each of them, the whole would never be as good as it could.
There is one more video to follow this one. Both were done in a green reflector bay on the Newell Highway in the Pilliga section, between Narrabri and Coonabarabran. For many years this was not only seen to be, but was marked by large signs, as a fatigue black spot and I did it one night in the fog and vowed never to do it again and thankfully, have been able to stick to that.
The original blue reflectors started just north of Parkes in December 1999 and only covered a short section, then made it to the northbound bay just past the Shell at Gilgandra in February 2000. A fine and genuine friend of the road transport industry, Mr Stuart Peden of RTA Parkes took a bit of a risk and put the first ones up as a trial without much support. I had approached him following a trip home from Sydney in a single tanker, loaded with petrol over the Blue Mountains and as I normally drove b-doubles, did not use this road much at all.
It was late and I was tired, having been held up in Sydney for some reason and I was looking for somewhere to pull up and go to bed. I had hours to spare, but was getting to the point I needed to stop, but not knowing the road and or where any rest areas were, I was looking, but not finding any. Now those who run any road regularly know of some informal unmarked spots where they can park and get good sleep and or they know where the signed truck bays are. With a full load of petrol, I could not just park anywhere, I couldn’t simply pull up on the shoulder and go to sleep, which I really was getting to the point of, as that may not have been beneficial to my life, let alone, that of others and in the end, I had to travel on to Molong and park near the silo.
I had passed a couple of possible spots, but even having slowed down to just under 90, going too slow could be a hazard for following traffic, it was simply both unsafe to try and pull up at the last second to get in and again, with any traffic behind you, making such a move unannounced at the very last second is not the safest thing to do.
Having survived the trip, I thought there must be a way to mark such informal stops. With the guideposts already in place and considering the best way to make it work would be to keep it simple and cheap, I approached Stuart with the idea of using additional reflectors on the guideposts in a 3,2,1 pattern and as all the parking bays signs, for cars and trucks were blue, we thought that would both be different, they would stand out enough, but still be linked in a way to be effective and workable.
For many years after the initial ones went up, I kept asking him to extend them, but he could not get approval. At one stage, Stuart told me I had more chance of getting the idea up from outside the RTA than he did from the inside and so the long, arduous and continuing saga of emailing, asking, pushing and begging began and still continues to this day. You would have to agree, pursuing something for over 22 years now and still at it, either confirms me as dogged, tenacious or just plain bloody minded, your choice.
A fellow at TMR Warwick became a fan of the idea and in 2005 he moved to TMR Roma, did a trip with me where he marked some sites, then we ended up in Brisbane at the Road Safety Awards and I won the Industry Category and thought, this might see it kick on now. With the help of a few at TMR, guidelines were formulated, confirmed and written up and even posters were done, but then it stalled again and here I am still pushing it.
Years on and I am still asking RTA to extend the now green reflector marking of informal truck bays at least to Narrabri, as the Pilliga was a known black spot with few parking bays. For years I wrote lists of suggested sites and then I hit a point where I said, if they won’t, I will and some green reflector bays then appeared in the Pilliga. This is that spot and these two sites, one either side, which were much later paved when I badgered some more RTA staff and are still helping truckies find a safe place to stop for whatever reason.
To all those who tell me I have helped them find a safe spot to stop when they really needed it, or even told me I have saved their life, none of you will ever know how much time and effort I have and am still putting into this, something so cheap and effective, yet I am still trying to get it not only state wide, but national. Till next week, enjoy the video, sorry for the quality, but that site had a bit of meaning and I could not hold the sun up any longer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all. Well shoulder surgery didn’t hurt that much, the anaesthetic worked well and whilst it does ache a bit, sometimes the reattached tendon is worse, but trying to sleep in a hi-tech sling with large spacer pad is to say the least, bloody difficult. I have four minimal exercises to do twice a day, can remove the sling if sitting watching TV, but otherwise have to keep it on for 6 weeks and then start physio.
They did give me some pain killers and I have tried them a couple of times but am not keen on going too hard and tried Panadol, but it is the fact I cannot sleep on my back and the sling doesn’t make it easy to sleep at all, that is seeing me somewhat sleep deprived. Good for that not to be on the road and then of course I missed all the floods and associated issues, bugger.
So I have had a sort of quiet week, though did participate in a Zoom meeting with the NHVR and Healthy Heads in trucks and sheds, and agreed to accept the Presidents’ position with the Stop the River Street Bridge and Newell Highway Alliance group. Whilst we still want a better outcome for Dubbo and those who visit and or travel through for the next 20 plus years, the half-baked River St Bridge which will not solve a single traffic or flood problem for Dubbo, but will then see Dubbo left without further major road improvement till 2045 according to RMS documents.
With the bridge petition presented at the NSW Parliament whilst I was in hospital awaiting surgery, I couldn’t be there to support it, but the group of locals involved want to keep fighting for better outcomes for all of Dubbo and for the future. Moree and other towns are getting bypasses to improve the amenity of locals and they have a truckstop, Gilgandra has two, but Dubbo as the virtual crossroads of NSW does not have anywhere suitable for a meal, a shower and somewhere to have a break in a truck. You can do each individually, but not together.
A ring road will provide at least the opportunity for such facilities, improve traffic within Dubbo and the money for the River St bridge would be far better spent starting such a project. So that is my take on that.
Last Saturday I attended the AGM of the National Road Freighters Assoc (NRFA) via Zoom and was elected President. I have been involved with NRFA for many years, on their board as often the only employed driver amongst a passionate group of owner drivers and am thankful to the outgoing President Gordon McKinlay who has not only agreed to stay on the board, but to possibly step in with meetings if I am away and that alone will help me to do my best while continuing on with my other activities.
I thank all who have put their faith in me, all who have commented positively and will do all I can to see NRFA grow and represent both drivers and Owner drivers in on the road issues. It is without doubt the only group of grass roots fulltime on road drivers and I will not be backward in asking any of you who want things improved and or changed to consider joining NFRA and helping us try to achieve some of those things.
Just to round out the activities, I am also one of 6 ambassadors for Health in Gear and I thank them, the organisation and the ambassadors for their efforts to have something simple, but hopefully effective in providing information to drivers through their new website http://www.healthingear.com.au and I again ask you to have a look and consider what you might do to improve your own health, for and on the road. They do have a support line 1800464327 available normal work hours and it is aimed to expand this into our normal work hours in the future.
No one can make you do anything to improve your own health and life, you have to want to. Do you think that if you lost weight, gave up smoking and or did some more exercise, it would kill you, or would it more likely make you healthier, happier, more able to survive the stresses of life on and off the road and quite likely extend your life? I can’t make you do it, but I can ask you to give it some thought, so please do and if you check out Health in Gear, there will be at least one tip and possibly many more that just might help you. Please give it a thought. So my arm is getting sore and typing left handed is taking me more than three times as long as normal, so now to video 2 in the Goodbye TIV series. Till next week Safe Traveling, Rod Hannifey.
Goodaye all, this is the first of 4 videos which will be self-explanatory. They are mine alone and all failures and failings to the standard of some of the past efforts with young Stephen at Whiteline Television, must not defer you from watching and promoting our Truckies Top Ten Tips, Rest Area and Caravan videos, all of which you can find at www.sharetheroad.net.au and which with Stephen’s expertise, look so much better and far more professional. I will thank him here for his efforts, Thanks mate.
To every other person and sponsor who has contributed to the current TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV), thank you for that support and I hope you have been happy with my efforts. To all who ring me up, wave and say Goodaye, say thanks for my efforts, I am more than happy to help as and where I can, as long as you recognise I am an employed driver and can’t fix that much on my own, but will have a damn good try, if I think there is a chance I can help.
Goodaye all. Surgery seems to have gone well Thursday evening and I flew home, perhaps a day too early Saturday and after little sleep from the awkward sling, the flight did have some repercussions, but luckily not inside anything that was moving. But no problems since then except sleeping with a large sling and pad. Doing very light exercises, but sling on for 6 weeks, then we will see. Doctor and hospital all excellent, let’s hope the results confirm it. So only a short note, one handed typing not going that well. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey,