Big Rigs Article #1

As some of you will already be aware, I've stated writing a regular column for Big Rigs newspaper which is free and comes out each fortnight. For those that missed it, here's the first article and I'll post each article two weeks after it's published... I've been a professional driver for the best part of a decade now, some would probably say I'm still wet behind the ears but I like to think I've learnt a lot along the way. I've hauled nine meter wide loads out of Kalgoorlie, dragged triples across the territory, pulled the curtains on to many loads of general to remember and now I'm carting livestock. It's not always an easy industry to get a start in and as with many who enter the industry I started of with a couple of mongrel bosses in rough gear that often let me down, but they got me started and in hindsight it was better that I broke their gear while I was cutting my teeth than someone else's. Having grown up during the '80s, within ear shot of the Hume; the old Hume the way it was with the mateship, camaraderie and "trucks only after dark" attitudes and hoeing into too many late night hamburgers in Gas Alley, I am acutely aware of the notion of having "diesel in your veins" but also that as a culture we are sadly misunderstood and oft misrepresented. In 2009, rather than whinge and moan about media misrepresentation, I went about setting up the Diary of a Truck Driver weblog (DoaTD.com), an attempt to balance the scales a little and portray a more accurate depiction of the interstate drivers life. Through my sometime irregular literary ramblings that have followed my journey the length and breadth of the nation, images captured of the ever changing vista outside my office window and more recently video highlights of the countryside through which I pass, I've tried to share the life we love so much and of course it stops me getting bored. Sometimes I share an experience but at other times I like to get on my soap box and express my opinion on something relevant to the industry. Doing so has led me to do a lot of research on various aspects of transport whether it be reading the Load Restraint Manual, current and past road rules, an EBA or a vast number of statistical reports and legislative submissions. The knowledge and insight into the industry, that I've gained, has served me well and while it's true to say that hands on experience, tarping loads and changing tyres is often lacking in new recruits to the industry we're also going through a major paradigm shift that will see drivers who need a text book based education as much as calloused hands. A sound understanding of our regulatory operating envelope is fast becoming just as important (if not more so) as knowing the different auditory stimulus produced by a blown injector and a bent valve, in order to reap the financial rewards on offer. The knowledge I've gained has also led to my participation in various projects conducted by the likes of the NTC and the NHVR and this again has been a benefit to my knowledge and therefore my career. Hopefully a drivers view has also help shape the outcomes of these project in a way that is beneficial to us all. I'm no super trucker, I still stuff up on occasion and make the odd contribution to the state and federal coffers but at least when I do I understand that it's my error or my pushing the envelope harder than a postie at knockoff than some misguided notion of a state conspiracy or an erosion of human rights. So after five years of blogging interspersed with the occasional television appearance and bio here and there in the print media it's time to go traditional and hit the pages of Big Rigs. I'll still be active on the DoaTD.com and trying to entertain the three thousand odd Facebook followers as well as shoving sheep in the truck and completing the weekly, 70 plus hour, road trip so if there's something you'd like discussed, flick me a note or I'll see you on the road.