Ready for a new rig
The TruckRight Industry Vehicle has reached a massive milestone. Now it’s time for an upgrade
THIS YEAR THE TRUCKRIGHT INDUSTRY VEHICLE (TIV) initiative reached a decade in existence. My first event with the TruckRight was at the Dubbo Show with Ken Wilkie’s K104 and Rod Pilon Transport trailers 132 and 142. I had approached the then Roads and Traffic Authority to participate and they did with a roadside inspection van and officers on site.
That was early in 2008 and Ken Wilkie had stepped up and offered me his K104. I had asked Rod Pilon if could I buy the trailers, but he offered to buy a set for me and did so at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Convention later that year. I picked them up from Melbourne in October 2008, which then saw the complete TIV and trailers on the road. Last month the trailers reached 10 years old.
In that 10 years the TIV has had many passengers and attended many events. The trailers, at least, are now approaching two million kilometres with just one brake lining replaced since new, which was only due to the pin wearing and the shoe stepping out a bit.
Many have contributed to the effort, from Ken and Dot Wilkie and all at Rod Pilon Transport in helping me get to events and, with loads to suit, for passengers trips. There are those who have supplied photos for the curtains and others who have supplied support and/or equipment on the combination and/or for events.
Many of those original supporters are still involved and I have tried to keep them all up to date with my efforts through an email newsletter. Since I have started my blog www.truckright.blog it has fulfilled some of that role and also allowed me to get to a different group of people. Our ‘Truck That Australia’ videos are yet another string in that effort to get a positive industry message to those we so often simply can’t reach. It is not for a want of trying though.
I read not only industry papers but also electronic media from here and overseas and there are the union and industry bodies, who, each in their way, try to put forward to the public a different view to that which we get from most press, which is generally bad. How do you change this? I don’t know, other than to say if we don’t try, no one else is going to do it for us.
TruckRight, including the TIV, was given the Highly Commended award at the Australasian College of Road Safety Conference, 3M Diamond Road Safety Awards in 2016. I have had many people over the years comment on the truck, the curtains and the messages, along with the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road), which are rotated on the back trailer.
Unless you have a million dollars and have nothing better to do with it, it is hard to have a truck promoting the industry unless it is a working truck. It must be paid for and earn its keep. If it is not a working truck, how can you be involved and push for things to change, unless you live them?
I am still currently working on the next and possibly the last TIV and will commit to the next five years and may be able to retire knowing I have tried to make a difference.
One driver was reading the curtains with his partner one day and I asked, “Is there anything on there you disagree with?” His comment was that he had been driving for over 20 years and he had learned something from the curtains. Many members of the public have taken photos, the Australian Heavy Vehicle Combinations panel probably being even more popular than the TIV itself.
I would like to thank all who have supported my dream, because at the start, that was all it was, me hoping to find a way to show a different side to what people normally are told about us. I could fill this page with names and companies who have helped and contributed. Some have done more than others and it makes it even harder to list them. But they all know who they are and, as far as I know, all are happy with the effort I have put in, both to recognise their support and to put a positive message in front of the public in a way not done by any other vehicle. Without all of them the TIV would simply not exist.
I wish we had more trailers with a positive message and yes, there are a few who have a company or business message. There are also a few with a safety tip on the back, but to my knowledge the TIV is the only working truck of its type anywhere in the world. Nowhere on my travels overseas did I see anything like it. There were some magnificent looking trucks and trailers, but none with such a focus nor a better delivery of our messages.
The TIV has featured in most of our industry press, along with some overseas transport media, and I thank Owner//Driver for both its support and its industry balance in not being overly restrictive on other press promoting the TIV and its aims. Owner//Driver recognises it as an industry effort and has treated me well over the years. This is my 19th year writing the ‘Eyes On the Road’ column.
Thank you to those who have taken the time to email or call me on the UHF to thank me for my efforts and while I do bear a sense of frustration, I am still keen to keep trying for a while yet.
“To my knowledge, the TIV is the only working truck of its type anywhere in the world.”