Toll driver saves the day

The amount of footage becoming available form dash cams in trucks will hopefully increase awareness of some pretty ordinary driving practises. In this case, the awareness of the driver in the Toll triple road train ensures a three road train smash is avoided after a double road train driver pulls out onto the highway without a single glance to the rear at the approaching road train. Everyone got home safe, but there would have been a few sphincter tightening moments for two of the drivers in this incident. The other didn’t even know it happened!

Back o’Bourke

How the world has changed in the last few years? Just a short time ago a truckie proud of their truck would carry, at most, a grubby print of their pride and joy taken with an Instamatic film camera. Now, we expect nothing less than a fly past! This is some great footage with our truckie, Mat Dockerty, parking the B-double up on a red dirt road out the back of Bourke and sending up the drone fitted with a camera (probably a GoPro) to buzz around in the sky above the truck capturing spectacular images of both the wild country and his livestock combination.

A day in the life of a lady truckie

Here’s a great video produced by Australian Geographic about the life of one truckie in Australia. Claire Strasburg is a young livestock carter, committed to keeping Australia’s beef industry moving. The video shows her at work, carting cattle from sale yards and station ­paddocks to the abattoir.

It’s refreshing to see the media treating this subject so fairly without any clichés about women in the industry. It also paints trucking and rural carriers in a good light, another rarity!

Having said that here’s another example of positive media spin about women from, of all paces, Today Tonight. The story reckons 15 per cent of truck drivers in the Pilbara are women but does come up with the line, “Heavy Haulage Heroines”.

Benz robot truck

 

“The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself,” reckons Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks.

 

He was speaking at the launch of the Mercedes Benz Future Truck 2025, which is fitted with Highway Pilot. This system enables the truck to drive completely autonomously at speeds of up to 85 km/h. The new truck was on show along a section of the A14 autobahn near the city of Magdeburg, in Germany.

 

Few details on how the truck actually works were available, but this demonstrates the way the automotive industry is thinking. We already have the Google car, there is the Volvo SARTRE project running truck and car platooning and DAF are part of a trial of driverless trucks on public roads in the Netherlands.

 

All of this speculation talks about autonomous trucks as an answer to the driver shortage. However, the exponential increase in the freight task is likely to mean, even if we have a lot of robot trucks on the highway we will still need more truck drivers.

 

 

Bad day for Linfox

Here is the kind of footage on YouTube which could give a company a bad name. On the clip it is impossible to read the name on the door of the lunatic Linfox subbie who drives like this, but it’s very easy to read who owns the trailers. A major international transport operation is getting negative public relations, via YouTube.

When this video was originally published some months ago, Linfox were quick to react and posted a response on the website:

“Thank you for bringing this important safety issue to our attention. Linfox welcomes ongoing feedback from the public about its drivers via online forums such as YouTube or for a more immediate response from our team, contact our dedicated hotline on 1300 880 535, complete our online feedback form or email public_feedback@linfox.com.”

Unfortunately, the driver in the first clip didn’t take any notice of, or never saw, this Vision Zero clip, also on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/Ai0DwaB1FRs

McAleese heavyweights

Great vid giving us an insight into life on the road for some of the heavy haulage operators moving the big stuff for McAleese. Some well shot footage demonstrates just how effective the self steering trailers are in getting massive trailers moved.

This follows an earlier video from last year where some big gear hits the road to a thumping soundtrack.

Screenshot 2014-07-02 12.15.53

 

Cleaning up Linfox

 

A new truck cleaning system, based in the Port Hedland Linfox operation, is claimed to be an Australian first. Replacing a traditional truck washing set up, which required five hours work for three people to handle a B-double tanker, the new system designed and built by Karcher, specifically for this job, cleans the truck down in 15 minutes.

 

The new system uses two cooling arches, delivering 350 litres/minute, as well as 350 litres/minute underbody washer and wheel spinners. The truck wash recycles over 85 per cent of the water used in the process, improving efficiency in an area where water supply is at a premium, and waste water disposal an issue.

 

Not only does this new system speed up the cleaning process, it also gets the trucks cleaner, according to Linfox. It replaces a tough hand cleaning job in the process. Cleaning trucks is a hard job at any time, but trying to clean off trucks caked in mud and red dust from working in the iron ore fields is tougher still.

 

Dutch Platooning planned

 

The prospect of seeing tightly packed truck convoys on the highway, controlled by the lead truck, running nose to tail to conserve fuel, has become a little closer this week with the announcement by the Netherlands’ Minister for Environment and Infrastructure, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, of a plan to use self driving autonomous trucks on Dutch highways.

 

The minister is seeking to amend Holland’s road rules to enable a large scale test program of autonomous trucks to take place. After a program of computer simulation and closed track testing, the intention is to trial the technology on specific highways to assess its viability and safety outcomes.

 

The trial is being organised by Transport and Logistics Netherlands, along with DAF Trucks and port authorities. Initially two trucks will take part during testing, leading to working in and around Rotterdam Port, and later on nearby motorways. Eventually the plan is to run the second truck driverless, simply following the exact route of the lead truck.

 

Several groups have been working on platooning, with Volvo, both truck and car, involved with technology company Ricardo, who lead the SARTRE project with trucks and cars involved. Vehicles enter a semi-autonomous control mode allowing the drivers of the following vehicles to operate a phone, read a book or watch a movie.

 

 

In the US, the Peloton system is aimed at saving fuel, it keeps trucks ten metres apart and the driver of the second vehicle still steers the truck. The linking system controls acceleration and braking of it’s followers to ensure a safe gap. The drivers of the following vehicle gets a video feed from the front truck so they can see the road ahead. To break the link the following driver simply touches the brakes.

 

Relaxing motorbike rules

As of July 1 NSW are relaxing the rules on motorbikes to allow lane filtering. This means motorbikes can legally travel between queuing lines of traffic as long as the speed is below 30 kph. This is simply making legal what has been the case for some time, but there are limitations and , importantly,motorbikes will not be allowed to lane filter around trucks.

While we are on the subject of road rules this video needs to be shown much more often. The drivers of Australia seem to have collective amnesia about the traffic rules on roundabouts. One day, they will get it, but until then their cars will get sandwiched by trucks doing the right thing, on a regular basis.

Beating up Austrans

These two videos reinforce the point Diesel News has to return to again and again, the reputation of the trucking industry is not just besmirched by truckies doing the wrong thing. The general media also cause endless problems by exacerbating the negative and ignoring the positive aspects of stories. Here we have an example of the way a major TV channel will do a beat up on a story about the trucking industry.

Firstly, we have the actual interview with the Minister and the Deputy Commissioner responsible for Austrans talking to all of the media at the roadside.

Here is what is done to the interview by Channel Nine to up the ante and make the issue sexy for their viewers. Of course this kind of selective editing creates more fear and tension between truckies and car users by keeping them in the dark about the facts, but highlighting the worst excesses. No wonder people are unwilling to talk to the media!

Here are some of the actual facts about the results of the, national, Operation Austrans in Queensland:

The operation started at 12.01am May 12 and concluded at 11.59pm on June 8.

More than 12,500 heavy vehicles were inspected and officers issued 216 speeding infringement notices and 127 fines for driving without a seat belt.

794 fatigue related offences were detected, in these, a total of 280 drivers were found to have exceeded their work hours and failed to take a required rest break.

In 1,077 roadside drug tests, 20 drivers returned alleged positive readings. From 11,369 roadside breath tests, 11 drivers returned alleged positive readings.