OPINION: Forgive me father, for I have sinned

By: Ken Wilkie

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have no doubt that the Lord will forgive me as my sin was committed through ignorance and accident.

OPINION: Forgive me father, for I have sinned
Do the crime, do the time


Sure, I haven’t studied the form four requirements for over size loads as in depth as I should have done. But my sin was purely accidental and there was no attempt to denigrate, deride, take unfair advantage of or put other road users at risk or inconvenience.

Having said all that in my self defence, I would not be surprised to get a bluey in the mail for this revelation. You see, the enforcement people of this industry have no Christian attitude of forgiveness of past sins. There is no role for the confessional box in their attitudes. Note the recent report issued by the "National" Heavy Vehicle Regulator issuing details about the "historical" failure of some operators to "manage" their fatigue. Would anyone self incriminate themselves by design. That is to say, who in their right mind would willingly make a record of some action they have undertaken that could latter be used to withdraw vast sums of money from that persons bank account – not to mention the indignity of having to sit in full view of passing motorists while all the detailed record making by uniformed officers was undertaken. We all know that enforcement people can and often do go back to the Elizabethan times when studying the self the incriminating record that is the school copy book / work diary – even though a previous examiner might have gone as far back as the Victorian era. The really zealous ones know no limit to their march back through history. Last issue I talked about the failure of following to the letter of the law under pinning the work diary, to guarantee a driver operating a heavy vehicle does not necessarily constitute a fatigued driver. What I talked about demonstrates that failing to comply with the work diary regulations does not constitute the offence against society that bureaucracy would have us believe. That offence against society can happen within the prescribed limits almost as likely as outside those limits. Why can’t we now take steps to remove this mindless rigidity from the expectations of fatigue management record keeping? Can we install intelligent parameters that allow flexibility? Education is the great lost tool in the search for a safer road safety out come. The reason that it is the ignored tool is that those who have an ability to change the situation are themselves are too self indulged to recognise the deficiency.

I ask the question, how do the enforcement people fill in their day? I would expect that they have two responsibilities in their job description – both handsomely paid for. One is knowledge of the regulations to which they are expected to police. To this end, I expect regular / frequent days of schooling to attain that required knowledge. Education! The second of course is the side of them that we see. The on the road utilising of that study time to harass those of us who similarly are expected to know all the finer details with out recourse to the same paid study time.

That’s me.

Yes I do carry the form four as per legal requirement. But some times the logic of the law escapes me and at others I fail to comprehend the finer details. My sin was to move an over size load down the south east freeway Brisbane to access Gladstone Road in inner city Brisbane. The strict instructions for the job was no u turn to access the job site on Gladstone Road. Fair enough as that thoroughfare does carry considerable traffic volume. The job site is enclosed by small residential streets. The legal alternative is to go via Logan Road – or any of several other what I’d call secondary major routes. All the legal opportunities involve less road space, more over head issues and numerous sets of traffic lights and longer time spent inconveniencing more people. No doubt the current requirements rest on the term freeway; which implies no obstacles to free flowing traffic. Folks, I have to say my transgression had no impact on free flowing traffic as I was able to maintain the prescribed maximum speed for the duration of being on the freeway. Can I also tell you that the Queensland prescribed maximum is less than that prescribed in New South Wales. Who called the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator national? To my mind the same illogical no over size requirement exists on what used to be called the Horton Highway to Redcliff. These days that suburb can be accessed via two three lane bridges – one per direction. Still over dimensional loads are required to travel a roundabout less "fluent" route to achieve that destination.

And suddenly I’m seeing directions for heavy vehicles to utilise centre lanes on bridges around Brisbane. Have they been built not able to accommodate the mass of heavy vehicles? Have they deteriorated since construction? Queensland seems to have a rash of infrastructure being judged to be not able to full fill its intended role.

I meant to mention last article the marvellous financial outcome of one of the South Sydney truck convoys to raise money for worthy needy causes. Over two million bucks were raised from just this one convoy. My highest compliments to those involved. In offering my specific compliments to that convoy, one would be very remiss not include all the other voluntary efforts / convoys to raise much needed funds for other causes. None of these causes are in the least not absolutely needy. However, one rarely sees much public support from industry leadership for these efforts. For God’s sake though, I’m not suggesting they get behind the organisational aspect of these fund raising activities. Heaven forbid. But it would be nice if there could be public recognition of the sterling efforts by rank and file members of the transport industry. From where I sit, there seems to be a lack of oneness in this industry. If the industry hierarchy don’t think it up, anything else is second rate. Oh well, the old Chinese proverb that says that the more ambitious, the less integrity is so often true.

I have reported at some length on submissions being made to the Senate enquiry into industry issues. A lot of comment has being put forward regarding the very competitive nature of the industry and the resulting lower than desirable financial outcomes. How does one judge that concern when some of those expressing such concern then purchase the service of a recent stable rate operation underminer to transport personnel back to their employment? Is this a case of do what I say; not what I do; or hypocrisy?

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