In the immortal words of Jerry Maguire in his eponymous film, “Show Me The Money!” Now, we can assume Jerry is no relation to Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association CEO, but we can assume Ben was happy with the recent announcement on safety funding by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
The trucking industry has been waiting a long time as governments and their agencies have talked about trucks and road safety, but not walked the walk with genuine funding for safety initiatives. The last couple of years have seen that change, and the latest round from the NHVR shows they are not only showing us the money, but we are working out effective ways to spend it.
On a personal note, it was great to see Rod Hannifey and his colleagues at Whiteline Television getting some funding to create a ‘Truckie’s Top Ten Tips’ video. Although Rod did miss out on funding for more green reflectors on the highway.
“Our aim is to do it professionally and make it available to all road authorities as a resource, so that new drivers will see and hopefully recognise some of our issues when they get on the road as well as making it available to all others who can use it to teach or simply, to see our side of things,” said Rod, from Ohio in the US, where he is travelling on a fact finding trip funded by the Churchill Fellowship, another source of money.
There was more money on show for other initiatives to make fellow road-users act more safely around trucks. This includes funding for a DriveAbout app, described as an edu-tech app focusing on learner driver education. It will include TV-quality animations about sharing the road with trucks. Good stuff.
There’s also the #GetTruckWise Campaign. This money goes to an unlikely pairing of the City of Greater Bendigo and the ATA, for a project aimed at educating the car driver around trucks. It will include ‘engaging activations’ and 360 degree videos as well as virtual reality to illustrate its point and increase driver awareness.
More education on the ground will come from the Transafe WA project to run a semi trailer education unit around WA and the Territory to engage the population in the West and North about trucks, trucking and how to behave around them.
One initiative which will be receiving funding should have a major safety effect and set the standard for other areas of the country. The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association is leading a joint project with local government to set up and operate a roadside livestock effluent disposal facility.
The facility will be located on the Warrego Highway, servicing more than 20,000 semi-trailer equivalent movements and, hopefully, removing up to 2,500,000 litres of effluent from the road corridor annually. It will also demonstrate to other areas how they can handle an issue which has been causing grief for both trucking and local government in recent years.
The Queensland Trucking Association has got together with Brisbane Port to investigate three different safety measures around the port area to improve outcomes in that area.
There are also a number of projects to disseminate information about the Chain of Responsibility rules around the country and into different industries.
The Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association have got some money to help develop a brake calculator to help operators getting braking right in shorter and longer combinations where braking compatibility is often a safety issue.
We asked for some funding and we got it. Let’s hope initiatives like this continue to expand and the groups applying for grants get smarter about what they want to spend them on. All of the projects which received a guernsey in this round deserve the help and if the results demonstrate real safety gains, perhaps we can get the powers that be to show us even more money.