OPINION The next chapter

By: Rod Hannifey*

Despite trailer delays, the new TruckRight Industry Vehicle will be on the road in the next few months

OPINION The next chapter
At the NRFA’s Brisbane Truck Show stand: From left, Glyn Castanelli (NHVR national secretary, Trevor Warner (NHVR vice president), Adam Gibson (National Transport Insurance fleet risk engineer), Mark Reynolds (NHVAS auditor), and Rod Hannifey (NRFA president)

My shoulder is progressing well and by the time you read this I should be allowed to start weight training, initially with small half a kilo weights and working up slowly. I have heard some horror stories of others who have had shoulder surgery and been off work for 12 months or more. All the treatment people have been insistent, saying not to fall over as you automatically put your arm out and there would go your shoulder and/or tendon. I am not allowed to even consider pulling myself up into a truck for another month or more – maybe at 16 weeks.

I have kept up my blog and am still doing my 1.00am slot Wednesday mornings on Triple M Nightshift, plus hearing from drivers and keeping up online. I found Facebook do not keep friend requests in order of acceptance and it seems I have missed some over time. If I did not reply please forgive me. Up until recently I’ve rarely had enough time in a week.

For the first time National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) had a stand at the Brisbane Truck Show. We had stand attendees from some of our association member benefits people as well. Overall, I would like to thank all who participated and made an effort to support the NRFA.

I spent the four days on the stand and checking out the show, spoke with many TruckRight Industry Vehicle (TIV) sponsors and others. I attended the opening breakfast and a couple of other events. The NRFA had its own outside function on Saturday night which went very well. We picked up quite a few new members, spoke with many about industry issues and are now planning where to focus our efforts.

I did my health check for and as an ambassador for Health in Gear. They had two sites with one using the new DAF supplied by Paccar for industry events. It will be on the road providing free health checks. Keep an eye out and if you haven’t had a check-up in a while, use what they provide and make the most to improve your health.

I joined up with Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds and would love to hear from anyone who has received help from either of these groups that you believe has been beneficial to you and your life. There is finally much work going intro drivers’ mental and other health issues. We reaching those who need that help but is what we are supplying actually helping?

Unjustified penalties

We are all waiting for both the Heavy Vehicle National Law review and the Senate Inquiry findings to be released. However, we are still being targeted by some that we might well argue do not do so for any real road safety benefit. None of us are perfect, but we shouldn’t cop a large penalty for a minor breach or mistake. When you look at some of our fines for what has nothing to do with road safety, and the those metered out to others for much worse crimes, it can make you wonder who hates us that bad that they can justify such overzealous and ridiculous penalties.

Highway Advocates was launched at the show, a new group offering support, assistance and representation for truckies involved and charged with some of these fines. If you are guilty, then most will accept the punishment, but if you feel you have been treated unfairly or that the fine far outweighs the level of the offence or that you are not guilty, give them a try. They have helped others including myself and other NRFA members and are one of our new member benefits partners.

Hitting the road

The next TIV big cab Kenworth K200 will be offline shortly, but there is much to fit and do before it hits the road. The trailers will be delayed (and a post from the US say some manufacturers are now booked out till 2022) but I will have something in lieu till they come, hopefully in November. Thank you to all who are supporting my efforts with the TIV. I have committed to another four years and perhaps five – and hope then to perhaps retire.

The old TIV is still on the road in the hands of another Rod, so if you call me up, he might well say "Yes, it is Rod, but another one". I hope the truck and trailers serve him as well as they did me.

The truck will be 10 years old in July and the trailers 12 in October. Together we did nearly 2 million kilometres, nearly 2.5 with the trailers and they have rarely let me down. They’ve done their job of promoting road safety and the road transport industry in a different light to that which we are normally portrayed. How many other companies would let a driver put their name and equipment out on the block as far as Pilon’s have allowed me?

I was once asked by a driver, "Who stitched you up with that thing, you won’t be able to hide in that, it stands out no matter where you would go?" My answer was, "me".

Thank you to Rod Pilon for having faith in me to try and do the right thing, to Ben now and all the drivers and mechanics and staff who have helped me get to an event or time to pursue this initiative. I’m onto my 23rd year and still passionate. I plan to keep at it. Thanks all who have made it happen.

*ROD HANNIFEY, a transport safety advocate, has been involved in raising the profile of the industry, conducting highway truck audits, the Blue Reflector Trial for informal parking bays on the Newell, the ‘Truckies on Road Code’, the national 1800 number for road repairs proposal, and the Better Roadside Rest Areas Group. Contact Rod on 0428 120 560, e-mail rod.hannifey@bigpond.com or visit www.truckright.com.au

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