Tide turn­ing to­ward driv­ers

Big Rigs - - OPINION - ED­I­TOR JAMES GRA­HAM james.gra­ham@bi­grigs.com.au

IT’S Na­tional Truck Driver Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Week in the US as I write this.

All over the coun­try, the men and women who bust their gut sac­ri­fic­ing many of life’s lux­u­ries so we can have ours, are be­ing cel­e­brated.

Now that’s a con­cept worth bring­ing Down Un­der, don’t you think?

Es­pe­cially when we hear of how some of our driv­ers have been treated this week.

Ones like Queens­land bat­tler Peter Lewis who was hit with a $10,000 fine for green-light­ing a trailer load of hay that was just frac­tion­ally over the al­low­able limit.

He wasn’t flog­ging it off for the high­est buck – it was head­ing to a drought-stricken farmer do­ing all he could to keep his live­stock alive.

And what makes that even harder to swal­low, is that in neigh­bour­ing NSW, where Peter has done much of his driv­ing, the load would have been per­fectly le­gal.

We’ve got to get more con­sis­tency – and sim­plic­ity – around ba­sic rules like this. How hard can it be to fix this?

We heard sim­i­lar mes­sages from driv­ers at the ALC and ATA Sup­ply Chain Safety and Com­pli­ance Sum­mit in Mel­bourne.

Sto­ries of how they’re made to wait around on site for ridicu­lously long pe­ri­ods, are suf­fo­cat­ing in au­dits and then have to scram­ble to make up the time.

Let’s hope the new Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity laws that come into play on Oc­to­ber 1, turn the tide back their way.

The early signs are that they will.

Sud­denly the ex­ec­u­tives and those be­hind the scenes are wak­ing to the fact it’s not just the driver who will be at fault if some­thing goes awry. If you’re any­where along the sup­ply chain, it’s your neck that’s also on the line.

Maybe now the driv­ers will fi­nally start to get the re­spect they de­serve.

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