Getting With the Program

Engaging with Trucking

It seems to be about time those with the power to change things started engaging with trucking. They can’t just continue to restrict and regulate us, hand down commandments, without engaging with the trucking industry and community.
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Getting With the Program

Don’t Park the Parking Issue

It is essential that we don’t park the parking issue for trucks in Australia. The issue of truck drivers being able to find somewhere decent to park their truck and get a proper rest is of the utmost importance and feeds into many of the other issues which are causing issues for trucking’s relationship with wider society.
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Preparing for the 21st Century

It’s about time the trucking industry began preparing for the 21st century. It’s no good living in the past, we have to look forward. A couple of initiatives announced this week suggest there is some movement in this direction and we are looking forward, as opposed to looking back.

One of the demographic challenges which faces Australian society, generational imbalance, is even more of an issue in the trucking industry. A large proportion of the people working as drivers in trucking are baby boomers, and they are getting older every year. Large numbers of them will retire every year. Not only will all of that experience and knowledge be walking out of the door, but the number of young people starting their careers in the industry is much lower. Hence an imbalance. Read more

Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

For many advocates for the trucking industry it can often feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. There are some important points we need to get into the public domain and be brought to the attention of those in power. There are also plenty of barriers in the way of anyone trying to speak up for all of the people involved in trucking.

The industry faces a number of challenges, all of which have conspired to make it very difficult for the correct information, in the right context, to be laid out in front of people outside the industry. Read more

The Meat in the Sandwich

The trucking industry is very much the meat in the sandwich, in the ongoing arguments about charges by the big stevedores. So called infrastructure charges are simply price gouging by the very small number of powerful national companies, who are running our ports, to maintain their margins at the expense of transport companies already running on much thinner margins.

After the latest announcement this week, the Victorian Transport Association is urging its members to pass on the charges to their customers in order to make the end customer pay for the increased cost for the truckies at the sharp end. Easier said than done! Read more

Complex Answers to Complex Questions

Some of the issues facing the trucking industry require complex answers to complex questions. There are no black and white solutions available, we need to be smart about the issues and even smarter about the way we solve them.

What we are talking about has been sparked by the decision of the authorities in NSW to organise a blitz on all truckies across four states in response to a spike in fatalities in accidents involving trucks in NSW. Read more

Modernise the Fleet

The increased fatality figures in New South Wales have led to calls to modernise the fleet. The shock of the steep increase in deaths in 2017 has provoked a reaction and a number of different solutions have been put forward, including fleet modernisation.

First of all it was Michael Byrne, Toll CEO, in his open letter to the Prime Minister which called for a number of changes. This has been followed by a call from the Truck Industry Council also citing the high average age of the Australian fleet and the corresponding lack of modern safety equipment. Read more

A Result, of Sorts

The recent attention given to the trucking industry has led to a result, of sorts, for those trying to bring important issues affecting trucking to the fore. The bad news about increased accidents involving trucks, specifically in New South Wales led to a lot of media reaction and some useful initiatives by stakeholders.

One of the good signs was a more measured approach by some of the media. In the past, any kind of bad news like this would be reported with a litany of horrific truck accidents and little commentary from anyone apart from the Transport Workers Union, who would invariably fan the flames. Read more

Ramping Up the Safety Agenda

Recent events have seen a number of people ramping up the safety agenda, but it shouldn’t need severe criticism from elsewhere to get us fired up. The trucking industry needs to stand together as a single unit on these kinds of issues and present a strong and practical front, backed up by good PR, there is no room for error.

It all started with the road crash statistics from last year. Although relatively low in number, the percentage jump in deaths from accidents involving trucks in NSW was something the anti-trucking  lobby could hang their arguments on. Read more

Remain Vigilant

Heading Them Off At The Pass

The latest crash figures are raising issues and the trucking industry should be heading them off at the pass. The numbers look bad in some areas and are providing fuel to those who want to take the big stick to trucking.

 

We have been down this road many times before and it’s about time we learnt our lesson. There has been a blip in accident figures which are largely unexplained. We have seen the number of deaths resulting from accidents involving trucks on our roads gradually get lower year-on-year since the eighties, until now.

 

The reasons for this are many. but the increased awareness of the importance of safety within the trucking industry were one of the major contributors to the drop in fatalities. This result is something which shines a positive light on the trucking industry.

 

The mayhem on the roads of NSW in late 1989 were a catalyst for the changes. The deaths of a large number of people in two accidents involving buses on the Pacific Highway provoked a government backlash, which could have had a drastic effect on the way the trucking industry operated.

 

That backlash was largely averted by a massive campaign to get road safety front and centre in the minds of those working with trucks. Smart initiatives demonstrated a genuine commitment from a major part of the road transport industry to run a safe operation. The initiatives included the Transport Workers Union and the industry projected a united front to the authorities to assure them of the reality of the changes.

 

Last year’s accident figures show increased accidents involving trucks in New South Wales. This is enough for campaigners against the trucking industry to be able to start to talking up measures like the infamous remuneration tribunal. There’s been an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald blaming productivity-based pay for the accident increase.

 

Opposition Transport Spokesperson, Anthony Albanese was interviewed on the ABC about rising car accident figures in Australia. He did not miss out on the opportunity to mention truck accident numbers and call for something like the RSRT to return to the statute books.

 

This should be a call to action for the trucking industry. If we don’t want something like the RSRT to rear it’s ugly head, then we need to come up with a viable alternative. There are some initiatives going on at the moment which should be effective in reducing truck related deaths, but they do not have the quick fix logic, or image, the RSRT possessed.

 

This is where we have to be smart about the topic. The trucking industry needs to present a genuine and easily explained potential solution to these headline accident figures. It has to be something the media would report and it has to have credibility.

 

This has been a perennial problem for the industry. There have been safety initiatives and real improvements in outcomes across the board, but it has not been communicated professionally and the cowboy operators who grab the headlines and drag the industry down are, firstly tolerated, and then do something to tarnish the image of the whole industry.