Get­ting the green light

Re­cent and im­pend­ing up­grades on some of our ma­jor road freight routes are a lon­gawaited step in the right di­rec­tion. writes

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver - ROD HANNIFEY, a trans­port safety ad­vo­cate, has been in­volved in rais­ing the pro­file of the in­dus­try, con­duct­ing high­way truck au­dits, the Blue Re­flec­tor Trial for in­for­mal park­ing bays on the Newell, the ‘Truckies on Road Code’, the na­tional 1800 num­ber f

THE START of a new fi­nan­cial year has passed and how are you go­ing? Have you im­proved your lot this year, did you get a wage rise and I sup­pose, the even big­ger ques­tion, do you think you are be­ing paid what you are worth?

We are a ser­vice in­dus­try, we ser­vice com­pa­nies in car­ry­ing their goods for use in man­u­fac­ture and/ or we de­liver to cus­tomers and con­sumers ev­ery­thing they need to live. Do they recog­nise this and value what we do for them?

The fu­ture is all up in the air with ev­ery­thing au­tonomous. Let’s hope cars will be safer and less likely to crash into trucks, but will we still have a job?

An ar­ti­cle in a United States’ truck news­let­ter said the gov­ern­ment had de­stroyed man­u­fac­tur­ing and ev­ery­thing else for jobs and now they are at­tack­ing truck­ing.

Another said US driv­ers will still have jobs for years to come, yet the UK is seek­ing dis­cus­sions on what will hap­pen to all the truck driv­ers when none have a job.

Tech­nol­ogy can be mar­vel­lous for some and painful for oth­ers. Gov­ern­ments con­tinue to say we must in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and growth, yet what hap­pens when ro­bots and com­put­ers mean few peo­ple have jobs?

With­out a pay­ing job, who will have any money to buy the things that the com­put­ers and ro­bots can make so much cheaper and faster than peo­ple?

COM­MU­NITY IN­PUT

So against all that, let’s go pos­i­tive for a minute. Some of you may have seen the an­nounce­ments for fund­ing from the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor ( NHVR) and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to­wards the next round of heavy ve­hi­cle safety. I tried to ap­ply pre­vi­ously and was told it was only for gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, so I wel­come this idea of go­ing to the com­mu­nity to see what they can of­fer to im­prove road safety on the road.

From the vast over­sub­scrip­tion to the funds al­lo­cated to this part of the to­tal fund­ing, one must re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the depth of feel­ing of many who want things to im­prove.

It’s not all about gov­ern­ment de­part­ments hav­ing all the say; they’re not al­ways the ones be­ing af­fected by bad de­ci­sions, or sim­ply hav­ing noth­ing done of real value.

I did ap­ply for fund­ing for a ‘Shar­ing the Road with Trucks’ cam­paign and it would seem so did many oth­ers. The re­cent an­nounce­ment says there is fund­ing for that ef­fort, but they will have to work out the best way to do it.

I have still of­fered to help if I can in any way and do be­lieve it should be done by some­one on the road and not by a ma­jor com­pany us­ing it as ad­ver­tis­ing and be­ing a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen.

The NSW Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices were go­ing to do such a pro­gram many years ago and it got shifted and kicked from team to team so noth­ing ever hap­pened.

I also sought to have safety mes­sages about trucks on the over­head dis­plays. While that does hap­pen now, it took a long time.

Fund­ing to the Car­a­van In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion may seem strange to some, but they will hope­fully have the ca­pac­ity to get to those on the road, some­thing we can’t even do well within our own in­dus­try.

There is no doubt we need more and bet­ter rest ar­eas, but un­til we get them, we need the ca­pac­ity to be avail­able, not filled by those few who do not un­der­stand our is­sues and needs, or who sim­ply want to save a few bucks on go­ing to a car­a­van park, but still can’t park well enough to let a large truck in late at night.

I wel­come some fund­ing for the ‘Green Re­flec­tor Mark­ing of In­for­mal Truck Bays’ on the Newell High­way and will do my best to see it com­pleted and main­tained for the year. Part of the fund­ing will go to a flyer to be put up in truck stops within high­ways so marked.

In other news on green re­flec­tors, I have been in­formed that the four high­ways to be com­pleted with fund­ing from two years ago, namely the Kid­man Way (Co­bar to Moree), Kami­laroi High­way (Bourke to Narrabri), Gwydir High­way (Wal­gett to Moree) and Mitchell High­way ( Nyn­gan to Bar­ringun) will be done within the month. You may even see some green re­flec­tors on other roads as and when it can be done. I am still aim­ing to make it a na­tional sys­tem, but you all know how hard that is.

Also, it is good to see new rest ar­eas on the Golden High­way be­ing built and oth­ers be­ing up­graded with more to come. How­ever, hav­ing trav­elled that way a few times re­cently, it now needs some se­ri­ous road re­pairs. But again, it’s good to fi­nally see the Den­man rail cross­ing ap­proach­ing a rea­son­able bit of road.

AUDIOBOOKS

Lastly, I have started a new Face­book page, ‘Au­dio Books for the Road’, and will review au­dio books there and will list some of those I have en­joyed over the last few years. I also hope to have some for prizes from those who sup­ply au­dio books.

This fol­lows on from an in­vi­ta­tion to be a judge for the au­dio­book of the year. I sim­ply could not af­ford the time to go to Syd­ney for the judg­ing panel’s fi­nal choices, but it was agreed I could do it on the phone.

My in­put was wel­comed and some of the judges made com­ment on a pre­vi­ous story done on audiobooks and my life on the road.

Green re­flec­tors in­di­cat­ing in­for­mal park­ing bays are on the in­crease

ROD HANNIFEY

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