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.
 
September 22 2018 Latest Blog Post. Short and Sweet?
Goodaye all. Short and sweet this week. How much do any of you know about “Chain of Responsibility” or even “Safe Rates”. Are they both media catch cries you have heard in relation to road transport, but not understood? Are they relevant to you in your job, or do they resonate with your OH&S workplace guidelines or are similarly about your pay and conditions?
The “Chain of Responsibility” came in over ten years ago and was meant to take all the punishment and blame, then solely placed on truckdrivers and spread that blame “up the chain” to those who pushed drivers to break the law and or put them in a no win position, saying be there or don’t ever come back for a load, but without any such proof, the driver was still the bunny caught in the headlights, when anything at all went pear shaped.
It was a marvellous concept, but very little changed. There is a new version due to come into effect on the 1st October and will it change that? I don’t know. I hope it will finally go some way to achieving what it espoused when it was legislated, but I am concerned it will only increase fines and punishment on drivers, at least in the short term, till someone further up that mysterious chain gets pinged and then just maybe, others will finally be held truly accountable.
Are we using a sledge hammer to push in a thumbscrew, or do we need to go to that level to get those up the chain, to both recognise they cannot put a driver in that no win situation with complete impunity to the consequences, but that they must bear some of that responsibility when they contribute to the problem, howsoever caused?
I do not know anyone in the world who goes to work to kill or be killed in their job. I hope and believe we all want to be paid a fair wage for a fair days work and that we should be safe earning that income. Monash University recently released a report saying truckies are 13 times more likely to die on the job than any other group. I had a number of radio stations ring me about it and I said, some things have improved as in all walks of life, but there are certain issues not being fully addressed.
No education of motorists about sharing the road with trucks, insufficient number, design and facilities in truck rest areas for us to always be able to safely manage our fatigue and we are the ones who have to do the work, yet those who tell us how to do it, who design and enforce the rules and penalties, have all the facilities known to man within walking distance of their executive chairs and we can’t even get shade or toilets in rest areas, let alone better roads and driver education.
It is frustrating and difficult to get such things improved, let alone completely rectified and we have the different states rules etc as well. But what do you think or know of either and is it like all things, the truth we see and read is so far from the real truth, that it is nearly too hard to find? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Here is the survey and I would welcome you distributing it and or replying via email.

Driver Survey as part of Churchill Fellowship Trip 2018 to study trucks and road safety overseas by Rod Hannifey. It is prohibitive to print, carry and hand out forms overseas to many drivers and have only some filled in and returned and even on the road in Australia and perhaps, not the best way to get information. So this will be online in a number of sites and will aim to allow drivers and others to contribute and comment online towards the aims of the study tour.
Please fill in and comment as you see fit. I am only one fulltime employed driver, but the more who contribute, the more likely we are to see any change. Nothing happens overnight, unfortunately things can take many years to see any change, but nothing will happen without both a start point and the intent to carry it through.
Please use as much space as you need to answer any question and I thank you for your help to try and improve road safety.

Country
Age
Drivng task (EG local, short haul, longhaul)
Average Kilometres travelled per week or year.
Vehicle Type
Cargo carried
Your biggest road safety problem
Your solution to that problem
Your best road safety idea
Rest Area comments. What do you have and what do you need?

Please add any further comments and Thank you for your time and response. Rod.

Click Here to read more blog posts.
 
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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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