Australian authorities are maintaining a blinkered view on the lifeblood of our nation – truck drivers
THE OATH of a police officer: I’m not sure which state it applies to but definitely not any of the four eastern mainland states that took part in operation Rolling Thunder. “To faithfully execute the office of police officer, and that to the best of my power without favour or affection; malice or ill will.”
Malice and ill will? Anyone following the cricket saga should understand that it is not only the doers who are guilty. What about those who stood by and knowingly did nothing? In the case of road transport operations, it is doing nothing to correct the wrong activity.
No one from the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is standing up demanding truth in breach reporting – nor calling for independent, unbiased reviews of heavy vehicle accidents to determine the true causes of the accidents. Neither does NatRoad, the Livestock Transport Associations, nor the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA).
Are the officers of these supposedly supporters of industry operators so ingrained with bureaucracy that they cannot see right from wrong? Are they so keen to rub shoulders with the almighty that they have lost the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong? Are they just driven by self-interest?
Enforcement is casting unresearched and malicious accusations against a whole industry. After months of secrecy from attendees of the regular National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) meetings, we are now told that the NHVR is doing what it was supposed to do – how many years ago? – and meet with all state enforcement agencies. Why? To ensure greater consistency and harmonisation of working practices! So the persecution is going to be consistent? And industry management bemoans its inability to attract good operators.
Stupid me thinks a far more productive road to better safety outcomes would be to institute driver education across the board in, say, year 10 at secondary schools. It might be more beneficial from both a safety and integrity perspective than teaching kids how to play cricket. What percentage of multi-vehicle accidents involving trucks are caused by other parties?
It pains me to say it but we have become a nation of idiots; a nation so devoid of integrity that the almost 10 per cent of our population who early last century, for King and Country, offered their very lives to protect their society, must all be turning over in their graves now.
LOBBYING, NOT BLOCKADES
A word of warning to those contemplating having a go at repeating Razorback – don’t be fools. Firstly, legislation has changed and these days you will cop the full wrath of anti-terrorist legislation. Also, you will undermine any society support we might still have after the going over by lying enforcement that we have copped.
Can I suggest we nominate a ‘politicians day’ instead of a blockade? We all trot off to see the local politician on a nominated day. The list of grievances needs to be from the same hymn sheet. Remember, politicians are our servants and bureaucracy is supposed to be the slave of politicians.
Quite some time ago bureaucracy found it could gain prestige and authority by bypassing a politician’s need to know via a situation called executive government.
When flawed programs became a problem through non-researched design – or even unsupported assumptions – bureaucracy came up with a neat idea of involving industry players. When new legislation was then proposed,
“The list of grievances needs to be from the same hymn sheet”
bureaucracy could claim to have industry support.
Sadly those from industry with more ambition than scruples have found a means of self-benefit that has little relevance to the greater industry. It appears that NRFA, for instance, is keener to support more uniformity of enforcement activity than it is to push its much-considered policy on fatigue regulation or the equally valid call for a level playing field with fuel-based registrations.
In the interest of better recognition of an emergency situation, rather than the prescribed triangles required to be carried in case of, we allow substitution by witches hats with reflective tape. The hats are more respected by motorists and not as prone to be skittled – or simply blown over by a near miss. Obviously the triangles are more room conservative and not everyone has the room to substitute with witches hats.
I had a couple of discussions reported to me recently.
A big nob with well-ironed casuals and polished shoes was being interviewed by a shock jock media personality. I was told polished boots demonstrated little idea of the legal hour parameters. The same or a similar personality is currently pushing latest technology in the name of safety. It’s all assumption until there is a proper in-depth study of truck-related accidents. It’s a pity about some of his company’s performances going unreported. Obviously the person at the top only wants to hear the good news about his company.
As was stated earlier in another source on this discussion about new gear improving safety performance, they already have a high percentage of stuff that is still shiny underneath.
It hasn’t prevented them having ‘oopsies’ though, has it? And their absolute determination to operate within prescribed time limits – fatigue management – has failed to impress others sharing their road. Nor has their determination to limit travelling speed to an absolute maximum of 100km/h endeared their operators to other road users. Yep, no over 100km/h for even a second, but do 100 everywhere where the sign says a 100 maximum.
On the one hand, the constant flickering of brake lights drives followers mad. On the other hand, if you’re driving to the conditions, then expect some pressure to let them go or suffer the issue of having one up your clackers demonstrating impatience.
As in all general statements, the previous comments are not true of all of their operators but enough to spoil the goody-goody gumdrops message number one is trying to pedal.
What about the bloke at Marlborough? Said he was out of hours and was quizzing all and sundry in regards to placement of traffic cameras. He had a time-sensitive delivery to Cairns wharf apparently.
He was last heard asking the service station attendant for credit for fuel. When it was explained that the management did not trust truckies to that extent, this fellow was quick to explain that his boss would pay – not him, the driver. My informant couldn’t say whether the person in question was a 457 operator or otherwise.
More bits of stupidity getting up my nose – the big signs near Queensland toll roads advising that toll evasion is an offence. Since when does one need to be told that stealing is illegal? All those yellow silhouettes appearing around road works – or projected road works in the case of the M1 near the Gateway exit have been there so long that the grass has had to be ‘zeroed’ so that drivers can see them. There are so many fashionable bloody fads in this country and usually at taxpayers’ expense.