Our side of the road

By: Rod Hannifey

Presentations on sharing the road with trucks are proving to be popular for recreational motorists

Our side of the road
Sharon Middleton from Whiteline Transport joined Rod on ABC Radio’s Nightlife program


Last month I attended the Stone the Crows Festival in Wagga Wagga with Stephen McCarthy from Whiteline Television and we launched Truck That RV and filmed for both Truck That and Truck That RV. I had been invited some years ago by one of the organisers, Grant Luhrs, who was one of the original fellows involved in Rig Radio which used to come from the 2WG studios in Wagga Wagga and went out on the Community Broadcasting Network from midnight to 6am.

The Stone the Crows Festival is one of the only events where both caravanners and motorhomers come together. I have been doing presentations on sharing the road with trucks now for three years with very good attendance and comments. The organisers were somewhat taken aback by the numbers who attended my sessions and we did well again this year and I have been invited to return yet again.

There were 500 vans and motorhomes on site with about 1100 people attending, many of whom have been coming since its inception six years ago. I did an interview with ABC Wagga by phone and also the local paper on site and then followed up the next week with one on Nigh Shift with Luke Bona.

A meeting had been arranged with people from the three of the biggest RV groups on the Saturday morning and that went well. I have since followed up with sending them info and asking them to distribute the Truck That RV and Sharing Rest Areas videos, along with considering the current heavy vehicle rest area design guidelines.

READ: Rod Hannifey takes trucking message to the masses


Rest area consultation

When I first started pushing to have those guidelines reviewed, I did ask for industry-wide consultation to be a part of the process. Yes, I did get to have a say early and on, ringing to ask where they were up to. I’ve been told the draft is out to the states (who will be the ones building them of course) and will come back to those who have contributed thus far. I asked about wider consultation and was told this was not in the plan, but that having raised it, it will be looked at again. I stated that was the aim, to have those who slept in such sites given a chance to contribute, more than those who just build them. Never give up.

I did get to watch What’s Up Downunder on television on Saturday and finally the piece filmed with me launching the Sharing Rest Areas video at the Retreat Caravan Rally in Mudgee last year and the interview done, made it to air. It’s another small piece but to a very wide market and yet another positive action in dealing with RV-ers generally.

The first ABC Nightlife radio program interview I did on the trucking industry two months ago drew many comments from drivers and had the presenter asking a number of times, "So when do you sleep?". I was invited back, along with Sharon Middleton from Whiteline Transport, to do a second hour long session. I emailed the program after the first show and then spent probably more than two hours on the phone and more time via email, raising and listing issues and problems in the couple of days before the show went to air. From all accounts I have received only positive comments. Thank you to all who made to effort to comment and for your compliments.

Too rarely do we get that chance to put our side to the media and/or the general public and we cannot afford to miss or botch up such chances.

Drivers club

The Truck That Australia Drivers Club took far too long to set up and, yes, those of you who got in early to join raised a number of issues with the application process and the website. As per the outline, Stephen who has generously provided the website www.truckingnation.com.au and I are both fulltime drivers, not computer geeks or experts. All advice you offer in genuine efforts to help us achieve the aims of the club will be welcomed and appreciated. All those who want to abuse us for not having it perfect at start up can do what they like and I wish them well.

For those who rang and offered support and the intent to join, now is the time to do so and to commit. Stephen has been working hard on return from holiday to sort and improve those issues and yes he deserves a break as we all do, so give him a fair go. The data we ask for on joining is to allow us to set up a database for each highway or industry sector. We will not bombard you with requests for info or comment on every little thing, but we will target those who run a particular road or in a sector, to either confirm or comment on an issue if raised by other members.

As per the aims of the club we will ask you at times to either comment or contribute or to make a call to a road authority about a bad bit of road. As you must agree, only one comment is simply not enough.

Energy drink concern

I will raise the issue of food and health on one of the forums soon and would ask as a pre-empt how many of you drink energy drinks? They are dear, not necessarily good for you (and TransHelp did flag an issue with those who drink too much of the stuff). Do you have a healthier option?

A fellow has a drink called Truck On which he sells in sachets as an alternative and while I do not buy the energy drinks, I am giving it a go. I gave some samples out at Altona and two blokes reckon it is good stuff.

Anyone else have a suggestion or comment?

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