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.
 
January 7th 2018 Latest Blog Post.
Goodaye all. How many of you travel the highways? Now a trip to see family on the highway does count, but how many of you do it each week? That is my job and the job of interstate or long distance truck drivers the world over. They leave their home and family to help you feed and clothe yours. They are in charge of and responsible for the truck and or trailers, in my case replacement value of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle would be well in excess of $650,000. Then you could have a load of chemical, or a big machine for the mines worth from half a million up.
So we are talking serious money in my charge. Then to make it earn its keep, I have to drive it. On our less than perfect, but yes, better than the good old days roads, but now I am in a bigger, longer and heavier combination and there are many more cars and caravans on the road. Then I have to be compliant with all the laws of each state I travel in, keep the customer, the boss, the police, the road authorities, the other motorists, the public and from your perspective, but certainly not mine, lastly my family happy.
Now if you can do that, that is a good start, but there is much more to the task. I have to fill in my logbook and be compliant with all the laws on time on the road, the size of the vehicle and what roads it can travel on, where I can legally park, try and find good food and or a rest area when I need one to safely manage my fatigue and of course, I have all those listed above I am trying to keep happy, telling me how to do it for their benefit or because they know better than me. Could they (or would they) do the job, of course not, it is too hard a life. Why would they want to live in a truck and deal with motorists who are not taught to deal with them?
How many of you have seen statistics listing the involvement of trucks in crashes? How often is the truck and or the truckie, made out to be the bad guy? Mostly. Too often any crash involving a truck, (often even if it only has a ute and a tiny local truck) it is deemed a truck crash, which implies guilt by default. It is not a crash involving a truck, it is a truck crash and yes, too often people die and worse, often the driver of the smaller vehicle. Yet if you look at the kilometres we do in a year and the fact, that the vast majority of fatal crashes between cars and trucks, are the fault of the car driver, we are not always the bad guy. Yet that is too often how we are unfairly portrayed.
We are not all perfect, we are human and we make mistakes, but my view generally is that all truckies go to work with one thing in mind and that is to get home to a family they see too little of. I had Mr Brendon Nelson do a trip with me when he was the Leader of the Federal Opposition, he even slept in the top bunk of the truck, perhaps a real and genuine enough person to have made a good Prime Minister, but maybe too nice a bloke for the job, for other people. He made a comment during the trip, that it must be hard to run a family by phone.
Yes we can talk to family better now than we could in the past, but I am sure many will agree, it is not the same as being there and if you are away more than home, not only does it put enormous pressure on your partner, it puts more on your children and your family as a whole and far too often, such families cannot survive it.
Continuing our song theme from last week, how many of you have heard John Williamson’s “A Truckie’s Wife”? One of the lines is “He’s more like an uncle-comes home with ice-creams and toys” and I would hope many of you will have a listen to the song and reply back to me. If you think there is a song that recognises truckies, their wifes’ and or their lives, I would like to know your thoughts. Maybe I will have to write one?
It will certainly have the line that “We go to work to get home safely, to a family we see too little of”. Travel safe in 2018, have a little bit of empathy for truckies on the road, give us some room to manoeuvre our larger vehicles and if you respect the size and weight of trucks, you will improve road safety for all. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. Click Here to read more.
 
Whiteline TV TRUCK That Videos
 
 
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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