A Fatigued State

The decision makers at the RMS (formerly the NSW RTA) may need to take a long hard look at themselves. While I’m pleased with the progress made by the NHVR and the NTC in moving toward a more user friendly Fatigue Management System, the same can’t be said for the local authorities in NSW.

I’ve just travelled the New England Highway from Newcastle to Tamworth, something I usually accomplish at least once a week and a trip that will be a lot simpler when the Hunter Expressway is completed. That, however, is about where the improvements for road transport end and took over thirty years to even get started.

Finding a rest area between Branxton and Tamworth can be tough at the best of times and its getting worse…

Heading south from Muswellbrook there’s a spot on top of the hill opposite Little Sarajevo, a gravel pit a couple of kilometers further along and then sweet eff-aye until the Motel at Singleton. After that there’s nothing usable until the concrete apron just north of the Belford Safe-T-Cam.

Due to this limited amount of usable space and an ever increasing number of trucks looking for a rest area it’s easy to run out of hours before finding a spot and the Bellford apron, whilst not ideal to access is often a last resort for honest drivers trying to remain compliant. It was therefore disappointing to see the RTA Inspectors set up in the very same location. They knew they’d get a good strike rate and whilst completely within the law it’s hardly good spirited.

Travel the other direction and your options are just as bleak. The Caltex on the hill at Singo isn’t much help with access and egress subjecting trailers to chassis twisting forces most of us would rather avoid. Just over the hill has been a favourite spot for many a driver and an occasional haunt for the RTA. That’s worked alright to date but now some moron at the RTA has elected to build a concrete barrier to protect the Inspectors. Great work, now it’s hardly usable as a rest area!

We’ve lost two good spots at Aberdeen over the last few years, the latest due to the new bridge construction and you can’t pull up on the Kamilaroi junction as some twat has seen fit to erect Armco barriers, obviously to prevent heavies parking.

I could go on for hours lamenting the demise of usable rest areas across the state, the imposition of restrictive local council rules and the embuggerance of caravans sprawled across what remains.

There are missed opportunities also. Why wasn’t the old road at Halcome Hill turned into a rest area?

Whilst the forward thinkers at the NHVR are attempting to get in touch with the industry and incorporate a few more proverbial carrots into the system; the RTA continues to rule with a stick that’s only becoming less flexible and please don’t get me started on the Honorable Mr Gay and his election promise to protect car drivers rights to go unchallenged by average speed cameras! Sir you entered your current role amongst much hype about how you’d been a transport operator but I don’t think I’d much fancy driving for you.

Enough said, I’m off to the Brisbane truck show for inspiration, I’ve had enough of this states truck hating attitude.