Archive for the ‘Truck driving’ Category

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Great Whites Gen2

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Almost five years ago the team at Great Whites approached me to trial their new LED driving lights. At the time LED lighting was a relatively new niche in the driving light market with few serious contenders. The original Great Whites blew me away with their solid construction, daylight like colour temperature, instant on light and the illuminating throw of light right out onto the verge. You can read my original post here.

At the time I knew they were the best lights I’d ever tried and swore I’d never put up with anything else. Five years down the track and the new Great Whites Gen2 range blows me away yet again. The new and improved LED modules used in the Gen2 range are claimed to provide a greater light output and they now have full IP69K rating. IP69K means these units can withstand a hot (80 degrees c) pressure washer among other things. They’re certified for a heap of other stuff too that I really don’t understand but can be summed up with phrases like “built like a brick shit-house”. I reckon if you bolted these to a Hi-lux the Hi-lux would fall apart first!

The new bracket arrangement is also a huge improvement over the original model with easy adjustment and an included security screw to help prevent the mischievous from unbolting the light unit from the bracket.


24 LED Gen2 Dual Bar Driving Light

Our ute sports a 24 LED Gen2 Dual Bar Driving Light and if I ever took it off I think I’d be divorced, my wife is so impressed with it. The same Great White performance with very little current draw (advertised as 9.52A @ 12 volts) and the beautiful throw of light I’ve come to expect from Great Whites.

Notice how yellow the stock lights are.

Notice how yellow the stock lights are.

The truck sports a pair of Great Whites Gen2 170 Long Distance Driving Lights which in my opinion are the best “pencil beam” lights I’ve used and if you’ve ever thought LED floods didn’t go the distance then these units well and truly fill in the holes. To be honest I’ve never felt the Great Whites lacked range, maybe that’s just the experience of those that use the cheap flea-bay lights.

Sitting up high on the bullbar are a pair of Great Whites Gen2 170, 18 LED Round Driving Lights the successor to the 18 LED Rounds I originally ran. Rich white light floods the road ahead and the verge illuminating everything.

It’s my experience that these lights produce less shadows on the roadside, that are also “softer”; making them less prone to startling wildlife into the path of my truck than traditional driving lights. Whilst I’m on the subject of wildlife I’ve had a couple of good hits to these lights and they’ve survived without a scratch unlike the flimsy plastic housings used by some of the so-called competitors.


Great Whites 7″ Insert Hi/Low Beam Headlight

But what about when you’re running the main highways where driving lights are often overkill with constantly approaching traffic or just when the lights have to be turned down… The Great Whites 7” LED Sealed Beam High/Low Headlight Insert with Park Light fills in the missing piece of the equation.

Kenworths, especially, are renowned for having piss poor headlights and that moment when you flick off the Great Whites driving lights and plunge into a miserable puddle of yellow light can be unnerving to say the least so when the team at Great Whites sent me out a pair of their 7” LED Sealed beams to try I was stoked.

Installation couldn’t be much simpler and is at about the same level as changing a headlight bulb, these units are truly plug and play. I was left with one spare wire coming out of the K200 but the multimeter indicated it was an earth lead so I taped it out of the way and the new inserts functioned just the way they were intended. For those who aren’t confident with fitting these items themselves I can’t imagine an Auto Electrician would charge much for doing the job, it’s that easy.

Sitting in the drivers seat and turning on the park lights I was initially struck by the fact that the Angel Eye style parking LED’s put out almost as much light as the OEM Kenworth low beams and as you cycle through low then high beam… well, yet again Great Whites have blown me away with the quality and functionality of their product.


Lighting up the road ahead

In my opinion, not since the big fella uttered the words “Let there be light” has the world seen such an improvement in illumination. You can see the full range of Great Whites Driving Lights on their website… and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook

Ready to Become an Owner Driver?

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

ACA LoansAfter many years behind the wheel, employee truck drivers often take stock and decide to move forward professionally. It is at this point that many of these experienced drivers make the transition from being employed by a freight company to becoming an owner driver–essentially building their own business as an independent contractor.


Baggin’ ’em up

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

The first and last part of any Professional Drivers trip is often the hardest. It’s the shortest bit but for many of us the back door to truck leg can be the hardest emotionally and logistically, saying goodbye to the family and lugging your gear out takes a bit of effort…

Whilst a tissue and a dessert spoon of cement is the best solution I can offer for the emotional part I’m pleased to say I think I’ve found a panacea for some of the logistical pain thanks to Simon at


I’ve worn out a few bags over the years (not a reference to any exes) until now I’ve never been able to find a “one size fits all” solution. Bags that have enough volume are usually too long to fit where you want them to etc. Usually there’s a compromise and two or three bags are needed for different purposes (still no hidden meaning!).

This is where the Truckie Bag dons its little cape, puts its reg grundies on the outside and steps up to the challenge… A huge main compartment easily holds a weeks worth of clothes, toiletries and towel; contains a mesh pocket for smaller items to save digging around and a padded pocket that protects a laptop or tablet.

Below the main compartment and accessible from the outside is a section for dirty laundry and another for footwear. Both are lined to prevent moisture and dirt getting to your clean clothes and my size 13 boots and Surfer Joes fitted in easily.

On the sides there’s a pocket for your Work Diary, another for wallet, phone, keys etc and more pockets on the ends. It’s even got a pocket for your water bottle (or a tallie if you’re going home).

With two carry handles and a shoulder strap it’s easy to carry into the roadhouse with the bold “Truckie” logo ensuring you don’t get mistaken for a tennis pro heading to centre court.

While it’s starting to sound like a mobile wardrobe, even when full, this bad boy slips into the K200 toolbox with ease and is equally at home on the passenger floor or between the seats.

At under a hundred bucks I really can’t see why the Truckie Bag won’t be under ever drivers Christmas tree even if you drive a Volvo (sorry Jimmy)…

One Foot At A Time

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

I’ve been quite vocal with my ideas about Operator Licencing for the Road Transport Industry, how I believe it to be the best possible cure for most of the industry’s ills so I was more than pleased to receive this media release from Road Freight NSW (formerly the ATA)

“13 August 2015

The peak road transport industry organisation in New South Wales, Road Freight NSW, has today announced its support for a road transport operator licensing system in order to ensure all trucking operators meet rigorous safety and viability standards.

Road Freight NSW General Manager, Jodie Broadbent, said an operator licensing system would protect professional trucking drivers and operators from the financial and reputational damage caused by short-lived, cut-price transport ventures.

“Our members are fed up with ignorant people entering our industry who have no knowledge of how to run a business, no concept of the costs associated with running a trucking company, and some daft idea that undercutting others is the only way to win contracts,” Mrs Broadbent said.

“Because they have never performed a cost analysis, these ventures will undercut other operators by offering prices that don’t even cover the cost of keeping the wheels turning on their trucks. The result is their employees are not paid properly, they do not meet their tax obligations, and they cut corners in managing their business, such as maintaining their vehicles.

“Eventually these businesses go bankrupt, leaving many people negatively affected by unscrupulous or poorly-informed management decisions.”

The Road Freight NSW Policy Council, made up of both large and small businesses, voted unanimously to work with governments and the NHVR to develop a system that ensures legitimate businesses with solid and safe business practices are protected from those looking to make a quick buck.

“There are almost no barriers to entry in our industry. You can literally grab a laptop and become a freight forwarder, or buy a vehicle, stick a driver in it and call yourself a transport company, without any knowledge of the obligations and costs associated with running a business,” Mrs Broadbent said.

“Having some requirements to ensure trucking business owners are well aware of their business and safety obligations will help the industry become safer, more viable, and more professional.”

Media contact Jodie Broadbent 02 9922 6507 / 0499 099 221”

Is it the seed I sowed that’s germinating? I don’t know, I’d like to think so but the end result is the important thing. Let’s hope the idea grows and the end result is an industry that can self regulate a profitable outcome for all involved and a better system in which the likes of the ATO and FWA can ensure drivers are properly remunerated.

Letter to the Melbourne Sun Herald

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

To: Mr Keith Moore, Herald Sun, Melbourne.

Re: Your article, “Truckies drive 16 hours a day, use ice, speed to stay awake”, published 23rd February 2015 (Article Link)

Dear Mr Moore,

Having recently read your article, I am aghast at the inaccuracy and lack of research that a career journalist, such as yourself, would put their name to. This is blatant sensationalism and little to do with informing your readers of the truth.

The truth is that without trucks Australia surely would stop, even when consumers were centralized around rail freight infrastructure the last mile still relied on trucks and without that rail freight infrastructure and the lack of timely deliveries to JIT manufacturing facilities commerce would soon struggle without road freight.

These facts are not meant as justification for any illegal or even immoral actions by operators in the road freight industry but rather to highlight the importance of a general public that knows why we’re here and why it’s imperative that the average road user becomes more familiar with heavy vehicle rather than fearful and frustrated. It is my opinion that the fear, ignorance and animosity of many road users causes a lot of the safety issues we truck drivers try hard to resolve on a daily basis.

Your opening salvo states that “Police have discovered cowboy truckies are exploiting a loophole in the law and driving for more than 16 hours a day”. Firstly, it’s not “cowboy truckies”, it law abiding drivers operating within the envelope defined by the legislation and it can’t legally be done without a seven hour rest somewhere in amongs those sixteen hours.

As the legislation stands a 24 hr period commences at the end of a major rest break and not necessarily at midnight therefore it is possible to do more than the regulated 14 hrs on any one calendar day. The confusion arises when the ill informed believe a page in a work diary is equivalent to a 24 hr period as defined by the legislation. To many it sounds confusing because it is but it’s not illegal.

I might also point out that this is nothing new. The Victorian Police were complaining about this two years ago (Link) and if they still have valid concerns they’d be better voiced to the industry regulator than an already nervous public. When the NHVR revised the current work diary last May it was suggested that the page totals be removed as they are not indicative of maximum work hours in the relevant legislation and merely a reflection of total hours in a calendar day. As all State bodies involved couldn’t agree on this point, the page totals remain.

Your next statement says “Victoria Police drug-testing figures also reveal those rogue operators are increasingly using stimulant drugs such as ice and speed to keep them awake”. I’ll admit there are those in the industry that do partake in illegal drug use but the truth is they’d have a drug habit no matter what occupation they persued, if you need more than a RedBull to do this job you’re doing it wrong. Operation Austrans, which is conducted annually across Australian and New Zealand, shows positive drug screen results are down to less than two percent (Link). Additionally if you look at the latest NTI report (Link) we find the majority of HV accidents occur early in the week, this is counter intuitive to the fatigue management legislation and suggestive of big weekends being more exhausting than the job of driving trucks.

If Detective Inspector Rankin’s figures are correct then either VicPol are getting very good at targeting recidivist drug users or Victorian junkies are a lot more stupid than the national average.

You quote DI Rankin as saying “To think that you can have a guy driving a semi-trailer for 16 hours a day without a break is ludicrous” and I’d be the first to agree with him but what he is saying isn’t legally possible.

DI Rankin’s final quote, “We know there are smaller operators who will just have two drivers taking turns to drive and sleep in the back of the truck and they just go hell for leather from Melbourne to Perth or wherever it is they need to get to”, leaves me thinking he has little understanding of the industry or the relevant legislation, we call this “two up” and it’s well provided for by the NHVR.

If you’re interested in facts, rather than mythology and you’re interested to better inform your readers please feel free to contact me or read my blog at, we’re not the singlet wearing heathens the media portrays us to be.

Mat Dockerty


Enacting Change ~ Big Rigs Article #3

Friday, November 28th, 2014

In my last article I raised the idea of introducing a system of operator permits for transport company owners and commercial drivers licences. In this issue I thought I’d expand on my ideas for implementation, discuss further the benefits and overcome some of the objections.

In the US the Commercial Drivers Licence (CDL) was introduced by an act of Federal Government in 1986 to harmonise the state licensing system. Whilst the regulations are Federal, each state is its own issuing authority, a similar system would be easily initiated in Australia with a centralized register, curated by the NHVR, to be accessed by all states.

Offenses against the Road Transport Acts or National Heavy Vehicle Regulations whilst operating a commercial heavy vehicle would be reported to this central data store and as in the US recidivist offenders could receive varying suspensions, up to that of life suspension. Suspension of your CDL would not impact your authority to drive a non commercial vehicle thereby reducing socioeconomic impacts on drives guilty of commercial events.

As this would be a commercial permit the authority could be given, to employers, to access a drivers records and be notified of breaches ensuring operators are better informed of their drivers conduct. Whilst currently an employer can check the validity of a drivers licence and request the driver submit a copy of their driving record employers are reliant on the drivers self-reporting roadside infringements. Cross border communication between road authorities remains somewhere between very little and nonexistent, at the current time, despite the technology being easily available.

Centralizing commercial driver records has the added benefit of making more accurate statistical data available. Currently even simple data like total driver numbers is near impossible to collate. Promulgation of relevant information about changes to regulations could also be facilitated with the information being delivered to the people that really need it, not just posters on the back of a dunny door.

So how about rolling it out? This of course would be quite a task to plan. An addition to the NHVL would be required or maybe a separate act should be passed so as WA could be involved but even if WA was resistant to the idea (which I doubt as whilst their non commitment to the NHVR has many valid points this is a very different beast) cross border operation of non-compliant drivers and vehicles would be easily prevented and a mass exodus of operators to the west to avoid compliance responsibilities would be averted.

Drivers would need to complete a written exam that could be easily incorporated into the current licensing system for the new comers to the industry and conducted in house by RTOs for those already in the industry. Those drivers who already hold a TLI30207, Certificate III in Transport and Logistics (Road Transport) would be given an exemption from testing and an additional tier of practical testing could be incorporated for those that obtained their heavy vehicle licence overseas, which would quickly fix any possible issue there, whilst still allowing foreign nationals to operate any vehicle they’ve been licensed for as long as it’s not for commercial gain. I also suggest that primary producers be exempt from the CDL requirements when carrying their own produce and inputs within 200 km of their property.

An operator’s permit system would be even easier to facilitate. If a heavy vehicle is to be used for commercial gain then it must have a permit sticker much like the current NHVR issues for mass and fatigue management. The permit would be issued to the vehicle owner, either an individual or a company with the directors of the company, as registered with ASIC, being the responsible persons additionally key players like Operations Managers would need to be noted on the permit. This responsibility of directors may already be in place under COR legislation but in any event it wouldn’t be a huge leap to do so.

Serious, repeated breaches against this permit could result in revocation, effectively grounding a commercial vehicle or even a fleet if it was deemed necessary. The upside of an operator permit system is that authorities can easily audit fleet owners and achieve much of what the RSRT has said it wants to by utilizing current legislation applicable to wage rates, superannuation and the like.

Currently a smaller operator can register a company with a spouse or relative as a director, avoid enrolling in any maintenance schemes etc and effectively fly beneath the radar. Pay below the award, no super and other dubious tactics that allow them to undercut the good operators, go broke and start again and nobody will notice unless a driver puts his hand up. I’ve worked for people like this and the unfortunate truth is it’s easier to just walk away.

Phase this all in over a 12 to 36 month period and I believe that within 5 years we’d have a vastly improved pool of drivers and a better report in the road accident statistics.

It’s only the pondering of a driver but I believe it would make a big difference.

ACA Truckie Insider

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Well done ‘A Current Affair’, yet another black mark against the trucking industry. I’m beginning to wonder if this program actually has researchers or if they rely solely on regurgitating bullshit.

For those of you who didn’t see the story, here’s the link…

Let’s have a look at a few of the claims tendered:

“Most Dangerous Profession” ~ This statement, whilst certainly an attention getting headline, is statistically untrue. Whilst we do have the highest body count we also have twice as many workers as the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sector which has a similar body count, applying the theory of possibility, the only correct method by definition, we lose the title. To those of us in the industry it’s an insult to our professionalism; to our families it’s a cause of great, unwarranted, stress and to the casual onlooker it’s suggestive that we’re ticking time bombs and yet more ammunition for the truck haters.

In Safe Work Australia’s “Notified Fatalities Statistical Report, 2008-2010″ we see the Transport and Storage Industry has a fatality incidence rate (deaths per 100,000 workers) of 2.7. This figure is surpassed by the mining, construction and the true most dangerous sector of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing with a whopping 6.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers. If we go one step further and look at Frequency Rates (deaths per hours worked) I’m quite sure we’d see an improved report card for our industry considering the average weekly hours an interstate driver does.

One argument that has been offered to me (by Mr Corcoran) to justify the title of “most dangerous” is that insurance companies don’t offer Long Distance drivers insurance. Firstly, this isn’t entirely true as the type of insurance must be specified and all insurance companies must be taken into consideration. Secondly, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are profit motivated and base their decisions on their risk, not ours. With a relatively small pool of potentially insurable persons earning a relatively high income it doesn’t make commercial sense to offer drivers an off the shelf policy however this is not reflective of our risk, only theirs.

“Sixteen times more likely to be killed at work” ~ This fact also appears somewhat flawed. The closest I can find to a source for this one is the TWU claiming it is from a Safe Work Australia report. I’ve scoured the SWA website and the nearest I can find is 2013 report entitled “Work Health and Safety in the Road Freight Transport Industry“. This report sights workers as only ten times more likely than all other industry sectors collectively. This report states deaths per 100,000 workers in Road Freight Transport at 18.6 with all other industries having a comparative rate of 1.9 per 100,000. This comparison is a little misleading when the latter figure includes industries where nobody dies at work and isn’t likely to other than from boredom or chocking on a latte!

The TWU spokesperson featured on ACA states that 330 fatalities annually are a result of truck crashes. It’s a matter of semantics, however the phraseology used suggests these were all accidents caused by trucks. The truth is these were accidents that involved a heavy vehicle. According to NTI statistics only a third of accidents involving a heavy vehicle are the fault of the heavy. Of course sensationalizing facts is nothing new to the TWU, their motivation is proven by their inaction to matters that relate to Interstate Truck drivers welfare.

The claim was made that there are drivers running Sydney to Melbourne for $150. The Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010 has an agreed distance of 858 km for this trip which would work out at 17 cent per kilometer, well below the award rate of 38.77 cents for towing a single trailer. If there’s truly a driver working for this he needs to give himself an upper-cut.

Another misleading statement was made stating drivers are only paid when driving. I’ll agree that the award does make provision for “minimum one hour payments” for loading and unloading and that this clause is often abused but drivers who aren’t paid for the time they spend loading and unloading need to insist they are as refusal to make such payments under the award is illegal.

“Days without a shower”… That’s a personal choice. Some of the shower facilities are a bit how’s your father but there’s plenty of them. Even off the main coastal highways there’s pubs, saleyards and caravan parks with showers available to truckies. Don’t go informing the general public we’re a subgroup of the great unwashed, it’s simply not true.

Equally the claim that you go days without a face to face conversation is suggestive of some sort of social inability rather than a lack of conversational victims. If all you can muster is a grunt at the bowser and picking your toenails over a cup of coffee then road transport isn’t the reason for your social solitude.

If 65 truck drivers have been killed in the last twelve months I’m surprised. The annual average for the last decade is around 50 (Work related fatalities involving trucks) so a 30% increase is of great concern but it’s hard to compare figures when little is mentioned about their source.

Any death, in any workplace, is a death too many and for the survivors and families statistics are no comfort or compensation for their loss but grand standing and misinformation delivered to the public that diminishes the transport industries reputation isn’t going to help anyone either.

This industry has a truly diverse range of roles and opportunities, a level of mateship and esprit de corp seldom found in other industries and a safety record that continues to improve despite an increase in vehicle numbers across all classes and an expanding freight task, but I guess that’s not the sort of “news” we’re told to consume.

Big Rigs Article #2

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Trawling the trucking related pages of the social media web sites I’m struck by the negative attitudes that many are more than happy to publicly air.

Reports of a big one getting whacked doing more than a dollar twenty are always greeted by cries of a “fair go” for ol’ mate, “he was floating off the top o’ the dipper”. Equally, questioning why a mates step-cousin got whacked for misspelling Thargomindah or Woolloomooloo are met with cries of governments motivated by unlawful corporate greed and officials hell bent on halting the progress of our nation. There are many more examples of this backward mentality exhibited by a noisy minority, most of whom I’ll warrant are as quiet as church mice except when behind the veil of cyberspace or when keying up the hand-piece.

I’m incensed as to why drivers purporting to be professional think that some of the more dubious activities should be defended and left bewildered when a select few start preaching about the global conspiracy, illegal corporate bodies calling themselves governments and the various other warped ideals some appear to hold as truth.

Let’s face it, we’re professionals in a competitive industry that’s regulated (some may say unfairly) for the sake of our own safety and that of the general public. We’re not alone in this fact; take a look at the building industry… Would you tolerate having a house built with cheap footings or a couple of roof trusses missing to save a few dollars? One only has to take a minute to consider why we’re regulated to start making sense of it all.

Back in the day, when traffic generally was lighter, trucks were smaller and the ribbons of black top generally had more separation from the urban sprawl, we did our own thing. Generally things worked out and when it didn’t we looked after our own. Times were simpler and the trucking fraternity was more close knit thanks to a smaller pool of drivers and less destinations. As the industry has grown, the friendships have become more remote and the traffic has increased. The general public don’t restrict their automotive sojourns to sunny Sunday afternoons, more and more, personal transportation is taken for granted and travelling greater distances on a regular basis has become the norm for Joe Citizen. Increased media coverage has also added fuel to the political debate and a greater (often negative) public awareness of the carnage that results from a big one going over.

Because we failed to regulate ourselves properly, often pushed by suppliers and greedy bosses, but sometimes just because of a cowboy attitude, more and more laws have been introduced to curb those that flout the laws or just don’t know when to quit.

Technology fails to keep up with the problem too. Average speed cameras are, in my opinion, a far more useful tool than point cameras. Able to protect stretches of road from all speeding vehicles whilst tolerating the occasional lapse of concentration, they’ve been poorly implemented to date with most only covering stretches of open road rather than the towns that dot our highways and a political system that’s too impotent to stretch the coverage to all road users. It’s all well and good to use this technology to really only check a trucks speed limiter is functioning correctly but it looses a lot of its capability to protect the road users if a P plater can barrel along at 120 overtaking on double lines etc, as they’re all to often guilty of doing, without repercussion.

The Labour Government established the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal with a belief that increasing freight rates would make for safer roads. My personal opinion is that whilst increasing rates to levels that result in profitable businesses is a positive move it will have little impact on road safety. The final decision rests on the shoulders of we the drivers and it’s us that hold the key to safety. There are already wage awards in place to ensure fair compensation for a days work yet workplace agreements continue to be approved that erode these rates and many operators still don’t honour the Awards in the first place so how can another tier of government bureaucracy enforce something that’s been going on since Noah agreed to his infamous livestock shipping contract?

What ever the rates, we as a species are greed motivated and will do what we can to get more out of the time we have. It can be a positive trait that drives us to strive for more and has driven civilisations as far as they’ve come but it’s been the undoing of a few too. If an overnight run from Sydney to Melbourne netts the driver $500 do you really think giving him $600 will make him take less risks or do one less trip each week? If you do I’ve got a bridge I can sell you in a top Sydney location for a really good price.

The vast majority of trips are made without incident and statistically two thirds of those incidents that do occur aren’t the result of a heavy vehicles actions but when things go hugely pear shaped we’ve seen the results on the media and it’s sometimes apparent that poor operating procedures are a key contributor, so why shore up profitability to keep these corner cutters operating?

The answer lies in weeding out the cowboys and keeping them out. Introduce a system of federal operating licences for operators/drivers and attach them to individuals, not corporate bodies. Revocation of your licence sees you out of the industry, heck we do it for football clubs, why not those in the transport industry. Obviously these licences would attract a fee but if the profit was used to audit operators and ensure wages were at or above the award level and superannuation was being paid correctly half the problems would disappear.

An added benefit for drivers to having something akin to the American CDL would be losing the right to drive a heavy vehicle for commercial gain wouldn’t have to directly impact on their privilege to operate a personal vehicle, thereby limiting the socio-economic impact on their families if they fail to conduct themselves professionally.

At the end of the day we’d have a transport industry that incorporates traceable accountability, better statistical information for future decisions, drivers getting paid fair wages, cost cutting operators being forced, by pure economics, to tender at sustainable rates rather than cutting the throats of the responsible operators and close to zero negative impact on the economy as opposed to the detrimental affect that increasing freight rates through legislation could have.

While the maxim “Without trucks, Australia Stops” holds truth the inverse is also not to be ignored… “Without consumers, the trucks stop”.

Big Rigs Article #1

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

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 (, 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 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.