Hannifey wins Churchill Fellowship

The truck safety advocate is heading overseas to bring best practice to Australia

Hannifey wins Churchill Fellowship
Rod Hannifey with the TruckRight Industry Vehicle.


Road transport safety advocate and Owner//Driver columnist Rod Hannifey has been awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship and will be heading around the world in search of industry safety initiatives.

One of 106 Australians announced as 2016 Churchill Fellows, Hannifey will be travelling to the UK, the US and Canada to research the ways in which they approach best practice in road transport safety, ideas and concepts that he will bring back to improve the local transport industry.

Speaking with Owner//Driver in the wake of the news, Hannifey says he is particularly looking to learn what the three countries are doing in terms of trucks.

"I hope to learn from the places I visit what they are currently doing re: road safety and trucks particularly," he says.  "For example what programs they are running."

Hannifey will be spending time speaking with drivers and hitting the road himself to see how successful the programs are in real-world use.

While he is aiming to bring knowledge "back to Australia to save lives on the road," he hopes to share some his own experiences, such as with the TruckRight Industry Vehicle, with those he meets.

Having spent over one million kilometres and four years behind the wheel of the TruckRight Industry Vehicle, Hannifey says it was "time to look further afield" to expand his safety message.

"I had people tell me a couple of times over the years to apply [for the fellowship], but had never had the time," he says.

"Many drivers say nothing changes here and we have certainly not got anywhere near the proposed reduction in the current road safety goals, so we need to look elsewhere."

The diversity of the industries in the US, the UK and Canada will "provide some balance and a different view," Hannifey says, and with Canada being the birthplace of the B-double, it will provide key insights for the mainstay combination in Australia.

In the US, he plans to examine the reputation of truck drivers and compare that with Australia.

"I believe that ‘truckers’ in the USA get more recognition for the job they do than we ‘truckies’ do here in Australia," he says.

"They have a ‘Knights of the Road’ program and ‘Trucker Buddy’, two things I will investigate to see if they can be done here."

Before he heads off, Hannifey says he is grateful to all who have helped him chase the safety agenda.

"Those who have supported my TruckRight aims have really made that dream come true," he says. "It would never have happened without so many people."

"But people are still dying on the roads and we must do more.

"I am very proud of the TruckRight Industry Vehicle and its achievements, but there is always more to do."

Alongside Hannifey among the 2016 recipients is John Gaffney, a Victorian who will be researching the effects of vehicle lane changing on freeway capacity and road safety.

He will be heading to Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Greece to complete his fellowship.

The funds for the trip stem from The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which was established in 1965 to honour Sir Winston Churchill’s desire to see people from all walks of life travel abroad to gather knowledge that may positively impact Australian society.

In 2016, $2.7 million is being spent to fully fund the travel of the 106 fellows, each will their own goals, for up to eight weeks.

The winners came from all across Australia in 2016, with 27 from New South Wales, 23 from Victoria, 15 from Queensland, 15 from Western Australia, 8 from the Australian Capital Territory, 8 from South Australia, 5 from Tasmania and 5 from the Northern Territory.



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