Rod Hannifey takes trucking message to the masses

Trucking advocate Rod Hannifey has been given a platform to educate caravaners about respecting trucks.


Trucking advocate Rod Hannifey is taking his message to the masses with a six-day talking gig at the Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow.

Hannifey will be giving hour-long speeches on each day of the six-day event, which kicks off today in Melbourne, to spruik about sharing the road safely with trucks and to encourage caravan owners not to take up space at heavy vehicle rest areas.

Hannifey has also been given a spot to display his Truckright B-double combination at the event, along with offering tours to interested show attendees.

The well-known truck is decked out with safety messages and has long been a key part of Hannifey’s push to improve the general public’s understanding of the trucking industry.

Hannifey’s speech will cover a number of trucking issues he thinks will be relevant to caravaners.

“It’s about sharing the road with trucks, generally, but I also cover oversize vehicles, I cover the fact that these people often haven’t been in a truck and don’t see things from our point of view,” Hannifey says.

He says his talks will “absolutely” cover the contentious issue of caravaners parking at truck stops.

“It is probably going to end up the most talkative thing,” he says.

Hannifey says many caravaners are oblivious about the problem because they often set up at rest areas when few trucks are around.

“I think first off they simply don’t understand the problem because they pull up in the evening, we pull up late at night. They might get woken up and think, ‘bloody trucks’, but they don’t look outside to find the place is that full you couldn’t swing a cat,” he says.

“And by the time they’re up at 6am, we’re gone. So I think the problem is somewhat invisible to them.”

Hannifey says the problem is getting worse due to an increase in caravans on the road, a lack of suitable rest areas and that truck drivers will often need to stop at similar times at night due to current fatigue management laws.

“Before we used to run as we felt like — within reason — you know, manage your fatigue [and] do the right thing, and now you simply can’t do that and there are more and more blokes trying to get into less and less rest areas at night,” Hannifey says.

He adds that he hopes to use the Truckright B-double to demonstrate to caravan owners what life is like behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle.

“So the stand is here so if they come to the seminar and want to see the truck, or if they don’t even come to the seminar, I’ll be alongside it for the six days and they’ll be able to see the truck. The stand will allow them to sit in the driver’s seat and see things from our point of view,” Hannifey says.

“It does look somewhat out of place and I’m hoping that will prove to be a talking point. You should have seen the looks when I drove in here in the B-double.”

The inclusion of the vehicle at the event was a deal breaker for Hannifey, who told organisers he would only speak at the show if he had a display.

“That was the deal. I said to them if I couldn’t bring the truck I wouldn’t come,” Hannifey says.

“To just be here and talk about it is one thing, but to be here and talk about it and then have the truck here to back up what I’m saying is completely different.”

Hannifey’s appearance at this year’s event marks a return for the longtime Rod Pilon Transport driver, who last year conducted two seminars. The talks were so well received that organisers invited him back.



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