TRADER NO BULL
NEW CAMERAS AT WALLAN
There’s a new set of ‘safety cameras’ on the Hume, north of Melbourne near Wallan. It’s around the same area where the old weight camera used to be.
However, the heavy-vehicle section of VicRoads’ Traffic Management Section are being more than a little coy about their new cameras. In fact, it’s understood that one not-so-pleasant old mate in the heavy-vehicle department became slightly agitated when asked what’s the go with their new ‘safety’ devices, especially when the point-to-point cameras are already nearby.
More to the point, he didn’t want to discuss the issue.
We’ll wait and see when the revenue starts rolling in.
NEWELL POINT TO PROVE
Another point-to-point scenario is happening on the Newell, south of Dubbo. It seems more than a few heavy-vehicle drivers are being pinged for exceeding the point-to-point speed limit between Tomingley and Peak Hill, which is normally 100km/h.
But with supposed roadworks in place, the NSW Roads and Maritime Services are having a field day, booking drivers who travel that stretch doing up to 99km/h.
Trouble is, the 100km/h signs are still there, the 80km/h signs were often covered, and the roadworks were complete. Some drivers are challenging the infringements. One was told he only had a 1 per cent chance of beating it, but still took the RMS on. Surprisingly, we heard the RMS then withdrew the charge.
BAD ATTITUDE AT MARULAN
Apparently a successor to the infamous RTA officer nicknamed ‘Red’ has taken up residence at the Marulan weighbridge. Okay, it’s now the RMS, but while the department has changed its name, the attitude at Marulan is still there – with one particular individual at least.
A driver with decades of experience passed through the Mt White weighbridge without incident. But old mate at Marulan discovered his previous break was 30 minutes short of the seven hours. Gotcha!
Off to court they go, but the judge was sympathetic with the truckie. He’d gone 34 years without a logbook offence and on the day in question his mind was a little distracted. It was the anniversary of an accident that claimed the lives of his wife and son.
No sympathy from our RMS man, though. He wanted to make an example of these so-called professional truck drivers who can’t work these logbook hours.
The judge had no choice but to issue a fine. Old mate from the RMS was a little disappointed when his request for $550 of court costs was turned down. The judge told him $250 is the maximum you’re getting.
Taking into account the circumstances and the driver’s good record, we’ve heard that the judge’s final words to the RMS bloke was short and to the point – “I think you need to change your attitude”.
TRUCKIES TUNE IN
Truckies have a new champion in the battle against fatigue in those witching early hours.
“Suddenly a shadowy figure emerges from the darkness,” says the dramatic tongue-in-cheek voiceover.
“A rebel. A guardian of everything that’s fair in this dog-eat-dog world. One man with an opinion, a studio hotline, and five hours to kill.”
That man is Aussie radio veteran Luke Bona, who, with his young offsider Miss Jess, works the new ‘Night Shift’ program airing overnight nationally on the Triple M network since kicking off just before Christmas as a “radio experiment”.
The show is a mix of humour, sex talk and relationship stuff, chat about some of the big news issues of the day, and a few classic rock numbers each hour.
Luke ‘the all-night Bona’ and Jess bounce off each other hilariously, and many of the callers are classic characters too. They include lots of both local and long-distance truckies, and there’s a nice community feel about the show.
Bona encourages the audience to “spread the word” about the Night Shift “family” – which he jokes is a sometimes “dysfunctional” one – so that’s exactly what we’re doing.
VALE JOHN MINSON
While on the subject of radio shows, there are plenty of truck drivers along the New England Highway who tuned into ‘Hoedown’ on radio 2TM in the late 1960s and into the 1980s.
Sadly, the original host of the show, John Minson, passed away on March 10 at age 89.
Minson was one of the key visionaries who turned Tamworth into ‘Country Music Capital’.
For more than two decades he presented the nightly country music radio program ‘Hoedown’.
2TM’s clear channel, omni-directional signal meant it did not share its frequency with other stations and, as a result, the signal could be heard at night all over Australia.
A keen musician, Minson played his harmonica on many recording sessions including some for Slim Dusty.
A number of his songs were recorded, including one by Buddy Williams (‘The Mighty Moonbi Range’).
Retiring from 2TM in 1987, Minson and his wife Ann moved to Coffs Harbour in 2001 where he took up building model aircraft.
John is survived by Ann, sons Lawrie (and wife Shelly) and James and daughter Kathleen and her daughters Jess and Nikki.
For those interested in the trucking industry in the United States, a recommended read is Driver: Six Weeks in an Eighteen Wheeler by Philip Wilson.
The book covers his ‘training’ with a big company before heading out on his own. His trainer could have done with some extra training beforehand, but they survived each other together, with a break in the middle, sharing a Kenworth for six weeks across much of America.
Marulan weigh station. Do drop in!
Former Radio 2TM host John Minson