Spy brings you the road goss
WHETHER truck drivers should pick up hitchhikers has again come under the microscope after an incident in WA.
A man was charged with two counts of criminal damage and one count of intent to harm when he appeared in court following an incident when a truckie picked up two hitchhikers.
Over the past 20 years, Spy has spoken to many truckies about hitchhikers and a lot claim to have given the odd one a lift.
That is despite the obvious dangers, although to be fair the bad incidences are few and far between.
Most companies have a policy that their truck drivers can’t pick up hikers and any reported cases can result in dismissal from their job.
Insurance companies can knock back a claim if a truck is damaged by a hiker.
Few of those who admitted to Spy they will give a hiker a lift are employed drivers.
In fact most are owner-operators or small fleet owners.
The reason they give is boredom and the company hikers provide, especially on a long run.
Back in 2003, Spy covered a story after a Good Samaritan truckie picked a hitchhiker up and it was the start of a 15 hour drive in which his life was threatened.
That truckie had the best intentions when he picked up the hitchhiker near Brisbane and was then taken hostage at gunpoint.
The truckie was forced to drive to Bowen and 15 hours later had to stop for fuel at the Caltex Roadhouse, beside the Bruce Highway just south of the town, where he managed to escape and alert staff.
While not wanting to sound like Mr Obvious, all of the evidence available seems to point to a sensible conclusion that any truckie who picks up a hiker does so at their own risk. FOOTNOTE: One veteran truckie who is against picking up hitchhikers had this to say: “It is a bit like somebody who swims or enters waters inhabited by sharks or crocodiles and is attacked. If they stayed out of the habitat they wouldn’t have risked an attack. Same as with hitchhikers, don’t pick one up and they can’t hurt you.”
PHOTOGRAPHIC evidence proved vital after a truckie who drives a light rig received a breach for speeding in the mail.
To add to the drama, this ticket almost ignited a genuine family feud.
This quietly spoken lad aged in his mid-30s was given a lecture by his de facto partner who instructed him to “slow down” on the road.
Our mate was licking his wounds and checking his finances to ensure he could pay the fine by the required date.
Otherwise it would go to court, and costs – if he was found guilty – would be much higher.
But something in his mind told him that he wasn’t the culprit. Not without foundation either.
When a pic arrived of the alleged breach it pointed the finger squarely at his missus.
“I was working about 900km from the place where the speeding was captured on camera even though it was my vehicle,” he told Spy who almost swallowed his breakfast cereal with laughter.
When this evidence on the table the lovely lady had to admit it was her at the wheel, although qualifying that by saying she had forgotten.
So she proceeded to a local JP who forwarded that admission onto authorities so the breach could go to the correct person, her.
IT WAS early in the morning as a Darwin-based truckie drove along the Stuart Highway and got a big surprise.
He saw two women walking along with luggage bags balancing on their heads.
Their hands were not on the bags and our driver was very curious.
But he was on a tight schedule and decided not to stop to find out about the bags.
Spy reckons that with the time worry the fellow made the right decision.
Even though it would have been a “balancing act”.
Chivalry on the highway
MOST of the older truckies Spy has spoken to over the last decade reckon that in the old days drivers would go out of their way to help somebody in need.
But they say that has changed and now instead of the majority of truckies stopping to help somebody change a tyre or needing repairs, they cruise past.
Well that was not the case on May 17 when a vehicle (see pic) became bogged beside the Flinders Highway.
It near Canal Creek on the Cloncurry to Julia Creek stretch.
Several truckies passed on an SOS over their radio and some Good Samaritans in a 4WD towed the stricken vehicle out.
A truckie emailed this pic to Spy and I thank him for that.
Canal with a C
ON THE very subject of Canal Creek, and there are many named this around Australia, road signs at each end are among the most vandalised in the country.
Often unknown villains will stop and paint over the C leaving the name as ‘Anal Creek’.
Spy really tried to get to the bottom of this and several truckies explained.
“They like to snap photographs of the name missing the C on their mobile phones as souvenirs.”
And I just hope that any reader doesn’t call Spy a bum for mentioning this little bit of trivia.
OLD Spy dropped his “trouble and strife” off to the airport one morning about 5am and was heading home.
Much to his chagrin, Spy received an SOS call from his darling wife asking him to come back to the airport as she had left something in the car.
Now when the lady barks out an order, Spy usually jumps to attention and dropped off the missing item.
Which proved to be a bonus as on the way home the second time, and still in the dark, Spy saw lots of lights in the oncoming two lanes.
I thought it was an accident, but much to my surprise it was a house on the back of a trailer being moved.
Although Spy couldn’t do a u-turn to snap pics I got a good view and the truck driver did a magnificent job, so too the escorts.
A lot goes into moving buildings and Spy now recognises the effort put in by members of the road transport industry.
Errol Flynn clone
THERE is a bar attendant who works at a hotel popular with truck drivers who many reckon looks like the late Hollywood heartthrob Errol Flynn.
Spy frequents the watering hole and has overheard several groups of females deep in discussion over the lad.
“He could leave his boots under my bed any night,” one quipped which brought laughter from her mates.
Some of the truckies who drink there on their days off also say he is a genuine Flynn clone.
Swashbuckling Flynn was born at Hobart in 1909 and died aged 50.
He achieved fame as a Hollywood actor which included a starring role in the film Mutiny on the Bounty.
His dashing good looks made him very popular with members of the fairer sex.
Spy can report the Christian name of his lookalike is Kendall.
This fellow is aged in his early 20s and is happily in a relationship with a stunning beauty who works at the same place.
But Kendall did laugh when told of the compliments he had received and even admitted to Spy he got a “mystery text” that night from an unknown female which he promptly deleted.
AN elderly disabled man with a walking frame become anxious after going into the ladies toilet at a Puma Roadhouse by mistake.
A patron sitting not far away from the toilets yelled out to the veteran to tell him that the men’s dunny was not far away.
However the gent became disoriented and then two truckies saw what was going on and helped him to the correct “watering station”.
While the senior citizen was having a call of nature his daughter appeared from the roadhouse eatery and explained the old fella had dementia.
She thanked the truckies for their assistance.
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CRISIS AVERTED: Good Samaritans pull a bogged vehicle from the side of the Flinders Highway.