It’s time to par­tic­i­pate

Love them or not, join­ing an association or union is the most ef­fec­tive way to get your in­dus­try con­cerns across

Owner Driver - - Eyes On The Road - Rod Han­nifey

IHAVE HAD A FEW REPLIES from the as­so­ci­a­tions and groups I sent last month’s three is­sues to. NatRoad says it is work­ing on these is­sues and that any­one want­ing them fixed should join NatRoad. I have replied say­ing not all will join or feel recog­nised or sup­ported by some or any group for that mat­ter, and our aim is to bet­ter rep­re­sent those who work on the road full time.

I will work with any­one who will help us win some­thing to im­prove life on the road, but thus far, and please cor­rect me if I am wrong, we have not solved these is­sues, let alone many oth­ers – though I agree, not with­out try­ing. Road Freight NSW also wanted me to join. It has said the is­sues are wor­thy and it will look at them and get back to me.

The Vic­to­rian Trans­port Association (VTA) has sup­plied a de­tailed and sup­port­ive re­ply, say­ing all is­sues are wor­thy of sup­port, are on their agenda, and that I have helped fo­cus that from a driver’s view. How­ever, the VTA says get­ting a na­tional rest area strat­egy – no mat­ter how needed and valu­able – will be hard work.

Trans­port Women Aus­tralia agrees and will sup­port the three items as and where they can and are happy to work with us. I am still wait­ing on more replies and will keep you up­dated.

By all means, any of you who agree with the items and want some­thing done, if you are a mem­ber of any group, put these things for­ward to them.

If you are not a mem­ber of any­thing ex­cept the broth­er­hood of truck­ies, then you should join a group.

I do not care which, but as you will surely recog­nise, sim­ply com­plain­ing about it while you eat din­ner will not get any­thing fixed. How­ever, I do agree with all the as­so­ci­a­tions on one spe­cific point; they can only act on mem­bers’ con­cerns if they are told of them and they will only do so if there is some sup­port and/ or pres­sure to get things changed.

ASSOCIATION MEM­BER­SHIP

No one per­son can solve the in­dus­try’s is­sues. We can surely try and should not be dis­suaded from hav­ing a go, but with­out some num­bers be­hind you, it is bloody hard work for often lit­tle gain and much pain. Even the as­so­ci­a­tions strug­gle to fix things and they do not live on the road, they do not get the fines and they do not risk their lives. But un­less their mem­bers take part and ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate, you are again back to a small num­ber who do all the work and ev­ery­one else whinges when they have not fixed the prob­lem.

So what are you go­ing to do? Throw your hands up in the air and give in? Of course not, or at least I hope not.

Join and par­tic­i­pate – NatRoad, the Trans­port Work­ers Union, Road Freight NSW, the Vic­to­rian Trans­port Association, your other state group and even the Truck That Aus­tralia Driv­ers Club. But do some­thing!

Will the au­thor­i­ties make changes with­out us telling them what is needed? Will they far more likely make changes when the pub­lic, road au­thor­i­ties or the press jump up and down and scream about what bad peo­ple we are? Will those com­plain­ing have any idea of life on the road or what we give up for them to have their food, clothes etc.? Will they care? Not likely.

So how will things change? How will we get heard? You have to do some­thing more than com­plain. You have to not just do your job well and safely for you to get home safe. You do not have to just act pro­fes­sion­ally on the road with all those who see you as a big bad truckie and have never been taught to share the road with you. If you want things to change, you have to con­trib­ute.

When you read this I should be at the Con­voy in the Park Truck Show at Don­ning­ton, Eng­land, as part of my Churchill Fel­low­ship trip.

From there I will travel to the United States speak­ing to driv­ers about trucks and road safety and aim to fin­ish the trip at the Great Amer­ica Truck­ing Show in Dal­las be­fore com­ing back and get­ting back to sort­ing the next Truck Right In­dus­try Ve­hi­cle (TIV).

I had an email from a TIV sup­porter say­ing “en­joy the trip”. I will see and learn a lot, but may well come back and recog­nise we do it well in Oz. In so many ways we do it well here, but with your help and a lit­tle bit of ef­fort, we could do it even bet­ter. It is up to you.

VANNER FEED­BACK

I have just re­ceived the fol­low­ing and it only shows that if we try and help ed­u­cate van­ners, there is some worth in the ef­fort.

“Dear Rod, we have just come back from a shorter hol­i­day into the out­back of Queens­land. Luck­ily we had re­ceived your sur­vey just be­fore and fol­lowed your ad­vice on com­mu­ni­cat­ing with our truck­ies.

“We al­ways did that be­fore, but not the way you de­scribed the process of over­tak­ing by trucks. It worked beau­ti­fully, safe for both sides and the truckie him­self was more pa­tient.

“We al­ways said, let us know when you are ready to over­take and we will slow down as soon as you have pulled out. In all the years we have been trav­el­ling we slowed down be­fore the truck had pulled out and that must have been ter­ri­ble for the driver, al­though well meant.

“Your sur­vey was en­light­en­ing and sure will be a good tool for all car­a­van­ners.”

I left the writ­ers’ names out as they have not given me per­mis­sion to use them, but the let­ter makes the ef­fort very worth­while.

“If you want things to change, you have to con­trib­ute.”

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