By Rod Hannifey
 

 

Introduction
I first became involved in road safety nearly ten years ago now, following one of those days on the road, when you really wonder where people get their licenses, out of Weet Bix packets or do they simply not care about their lives or those of anyone else? After sleeping for the night at Narrabri and only being on the road 15 minutes and not even up to highway speed, I and the car behind me, were overtaken by another car with two unrestrained children in the back with an approaching b-double heading towards us less than 200 metres away. Both b-doubles went off the road onto the shoulder to allow the stupid motorist to safely get through.

Later that same day being fully loaded and coming down off a hill onto a narrow bridge, I flashed the oncoming F250 Ford as if to say, “Back off just a bit and I will be off the bridge before you come on”. No way. This bloke kept coming and we met before I came off the bridge and to this day, I believe I missed that vehicle and the bridge posts by millimetres. Had he just lifted his foot off the accelerator for less than 30 seconds, I would have been clear and the possibility of a crash would have been completely avoided.

All drivers and truckies particularly, can regale you with horror stories of crashes and near misses, most of which need not have happened, nor the risk have even occurred, had the motorist simply respected the size and weight of the larger truck. This is not about might is right, it is simple physics. As a pedestrian, you would not step out in front of a bus and simply expect it to stop because you are there. And yet everyday, car drivers who have perhaps not been taught to share the road with trucks, will pull directly out in front of a fully loaded semi or b-double and expect them to stop dead.

If through the information on these pages, one of these crashes or lives lost can be prevented, then my efforts will have been worthwhile. I make no claims to be perfect, we are all (at least supposedly) human, but not all drivers are equal and some have simply been taught to pass a test, not to spend the rest of their lives on the road, let alone to share those roads with large trucks. Fatal crashes between cars and trucks are over 70% the fault of the car driver according to crash statistics. This only confirms to me that we do need better education of car drivers about sharing the road with trucks. There is no doubt that truckies have to earn the respect their vehicles deserve and do their part to improve road safety as well.


 

 


Efforts So Far

In the last ten years I have contributed to road safety inquiries, written submissions to government, industry and other inquiries and responded to requests for information or comments, along with writing for Owner Driver magazine since 2001, for Caravan World for 8 years until 2008, Caravan and Motorhome Magazine for 4 months and done weekly, monthly and informal interviews on ABC and commercial radio stations, including most of the truckies radio programs that we had in the past.

TRUCKRIGHT Industry VehicleI’ve completed a Graduate Certificate in Road Safety, won a Queensland Road Safety Award for the Blue Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays (and now 9 years on since the first were put up as a trial, still trying to get other states after Queensland and now finally NSW, to adopt this simple, cheap and effective road safety initiative). I won the NATROAD Driver of the Year in 2000, the Australian Trucking Association National Professional Driver of the Year in 2001 and the John (William) Bond, Safe Driver of the Year in 2004.

In 2008 I launched the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle which has its own section on this website and I am very happy with the efforts and achievements of this project so far, but as with all things, it can do more with the right amount of support. My CV is attached here elsewhere as a more complete listing and I would welcome emails both in support or otherwise of any of the information on the site, and towards further improvements in road safety. Thanks and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

March 2014 Update
Goodaye all. The TIV K200 is now well up over 500,000 kilometres and is nearly complete from my point of view. It has taken over two years to get all the little bits and pieces done whilst trying to work fulltime and do all the extra things I try to participate in and contribute to. We had to replace a turbo recently, though this is the first since about 150,000 k and whilst it had only shown one fault code then, it was replaced during a DPF repair and I was told there nothing wrong with the one they removed.
The starter motor was also replaced at 510,000k whilst stuck in Tramanco’s yard in Brisbane (sorry to Tony for making him late for his holiday week-end) when we were doing suspension testing and memory download from the INS-COM road reading software. The data is very promising and one of the things I have asked NHVR to consider for the future, is a national road standard that will allow anyone to know what the standard is and to be able to lodge a complaint where a road does not meet that standard. It is hard to get some authorities to act when they simply do not understand how savage and severe some of these impacts from road irregularities can be, in a truck. Click Here to read more.

 
May 2017 Updated Caravan Survey
To all caravan and motorhome drivers, please take the time to email me your thoughts from the 2017 caravan survey.
 
June 2017 Audiobooks For The Road
I have started a facebook page to provide reviews of books I read, sometimes up to 3 a week and to seek your comments and reviews as well. I was recently invited to be a judge for audiobook of the year and want to let people know of the entertainment you can get on long trips from audiobooks. Click Here to read more.
Links to the ABC interview and Sydney Morning Herald article.
 
February 12th 2018 Latest Blog Post. TRUCK That Drivers Club
Goodaye all. Well “Operation Rolling Thunder” went a long way to solving the industries problems did it? It educated all the car drivers and got the rest area problem fixed too I am sure. What’s that, you disagree! You mean you don’t think it helped. Yes, they got 2000 defects and fines, but won’t release what they were. Why do you think that is?
There is a lot of truck driver frustration with the way we are being portrayed and maligned and many are talking of blockades. Will that work or solve our problems? From what I have seen or heard, few can agree on the problems and even fewer can agree on the solutions. Blocking the roads will only aggravate the public, too many of whom from the way we are portrayed in the media, are not likely to back us at the moment. If we all stayed home and had someone to put our problems and the suitable solutions forward, we might get heard, but the way things are now, that seems unlikely. Yesterday I attended the National Road Freighters Association 10th AGM in Toowoomba. Senator Pauline Hanson was amongst four members of Parliament who attended. John Gilbert and Andreaus Drahaim attended from the NHVR and all gave a short presentation and then took part in an open forum with good audience questions and participation.
I spoke at the end offering my solution. I will start a drivers club as many drivers have been reluctant to join an association or union for whatever reason. I have said previously that you cannot affect change on your own, unless with years of effort and associations can only achieve improvements with sufficient numbers behind and participating with them. I want something simple and easy that may well suit those who are passionate and keen to see things change, but are not sure where to do something that will help, but who also do not want to pay large fees for little return or who won’t commit to meetings and events. The “TRUCK That Drivers Club” will have four requirements.
1. Drivers will be asked to comply with the “TRUCKIES on Road Code” as included below (though if we get sufficient numbers, I will be happy to put this up for review and improvement). We will ask what route you regularly travel and what sector you operate in (tankers, general or stock etc), so we can set up a database and when an issue arises, we will ask for your comments.
2. We will ask drivers to ring road authorities when they see or encounter road hazards or irregularities so, that more than one driver is reporting such road failures and we can get them fixed faster to keep the roads safer for all.
3. We will ask for members to contribute submissions to government inquiries, but will help with outlines and details so we can be heard as drivers who are on the road.
4. We will ask that should you hear negative and or inaccurate comments on our industry on radio or in the press, that you respond and or notify us, so we can respond with a balanced reply. We cannot monitor all media, but with such a network, we could respond better and quicker than we do now.
Members will be asked for $50 per year to join, so less than one dollar a week and we will not promise discounts or deals, just give those who are passionate and want to do just that little bit to see the industry improve, a place to help do that. It will be set up on Facebook and have a members’ only section, as one of the issues of open groups, is those who may not even be drivers, can get on and destroy any good intent.

I will then put forward a list of four problems and solutions.
1. We will guarantee that in 6 weeks we will provide broadcast quality videos of the Truckies Top Ten Tips and so in 8 weeks, that will be available to include in young driver learner education across Australia. That will make a start on improving driver education about sharing the road with trucks and will be available for television adds and campaigns.
2. We will ask that the Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays be rolled out across the national highway network as an interim measure and that in marking such suitable sites, an audit be done highlighting areas needing more rest areas and these then be funded and begun the following year.
3. We will ask the NHVR to allow split rest, but only a maximum of twice a week and not on consecutive nights to assist us in managing our fatigue. If you pull up and sleep to manage your fatigue, but then are forced to stop for another 7 hour break, you will be awake and then simply tiring till you are legally allowed to go again. This is completely against us when we all want to drive when fit and sleep when tired.
4. We will contribute and seek industry participation to see improved truck driver standards of licensing and training. Just having a license does not give you the skills needed to load and travel in trucks on the road and overseas drivers must also be tested, rather than simply given a b-double license when they say yes, they drove a big truck where they came from.
I welcome any constructive comments or suggestions, have been trying to see things improve for a long time and do not wish to hijack the blockade page or supporters, but we have a group there who have some passion and much frustration and I want to offer an alternative that could work. We have been doing the TRUCK That videos since our “Sharing rest areas” video and that got good coverage and exposure and while they are for us, they are also aimed at the public and I am getting good comments on my blog http://www.truckright.blog but can only do so much alone.
We will start the club next week. What do you think? I already have 6 who will join and the first bloke has paid. The National Road Freighters Association have said they support the intent and if it gets more drivers a chance to participate, then it could work and help us all. Cheers Rod Hannifey.

Truckies on Road Code. If members wish, we will review this when we get to 50.

1. Respect, assist and treat other truckies as you would like to be treated.
2. Make allowances for car drivers. They don’t drive or understand trucks.
3. Your behaviour on the road and to other motorists is how we are all seen. Try to be courteous and show a good face to represent the industry that feeds you and your family.
4. Do not tailgate.
Cars – you are seen as pushy cowboys, particularly where there is no safe place to pass for some time. It’s one of our two biggest public issues.
Trucks – help one another, use CB and or flash highbeam when overtaking. Be, and be seen to be, working together as those who spend their life on the road.
5. Blatant speeding is the other biggest issue that the public abhor and use to beat us up in the press, and brand us all as irresponsible cowboys.
6. Jake brakes – in hours of darkness turn off at 60 signs and back on at 100 and only use when absolutely necessary in these urban areas at night.
7. Appearance – make an effort to look and act as a professional truckdriver. Even if you do not like this term, there’s more chance you’ll be treated better if you make an effort to look and act the part.
8. Bad language – on CB, particularly UHF with rural community use and longer range. You are not in a closed room. You don’t speak in front of your family like that, don’t do it in case of others who may be listening.
9. Dip your lights first at night. Show a good example for truckies and others.
10. Safe equipment and safe operation will see you home safe as well.

Whilst any effort to educate the average car driver will take many years, we can only do our best to travel in safety on the road. Your best efforts may often be overshadowed by bad press from an incident or accident involving a truck and often wrongly blamed upon the truckie, but only with time and education will the public, both motoring and general, come to appreciate the enormous contribution that the road transport industry makes to their comforts and way of life.
Your efforts and time on the road will either assist or destroy the attempts being made by many to improve how we are seen and treated, both on the road and off. It is a hard life on families and not respected for the money in equipment and cargo carried, or lifestyle involved. Australias’ truckies do carry this country.
With your help this message will go someway to lift the standard for all.
Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate.
Email rod.hannifey@bigpond.comy.
Click Here to read more.
 
Whiteline Television TRUCK That Videos
 
Click Here for more episodes
 
August 21st 2017 Latest Podcast
 
 
   

The Site has been split into two parts, the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and Road Safety.

The TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) section covers the aims and efforts of this initiative towards improving how the road transport industry is seen by the public and how to improve the lot of truckies on the road.

Road Safety has all the flyers and road safety tips for all drivers, car, truck etc and will aim to improve road safety for all road users through better education and understanding.

 
 
 
 
 

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