‘I don’t feel safe driving anymore’: Tim Collins


Former Adelaide-based truckie Tim Collins reluctantly sold up his K100 and trailer, and walked away from his freight transport business, STC Haulage, earlier last month after 24 mostly memorable years behind the wheel.

By the time you read this, 42-year-old Collins and his young family will be well down the road in their new Nissan Patrol with their caravan in tow for the next 12 months.

It’s only been in recent times that Collins says that a collaboration of a “few things” has made him re-evaluate his life and where he was heading while doing local subbing for several steel companies.

He admits the price of diesel along with the loss of the fuel tax credits has had a huge impact on his decision to walk away.

But Collins also says it got to a point where he no longer felt safe on the road.

“I don’t understand how [some of] these guys are getting their licence,” said Collins.

“They don’t understand the machines they are driving, that they kill people. They seem to think it’s all a big joke.”

“I don’t understand how it’s all come to this. It’s not a safe job at all at the moment. It just seems to be getting worse every day.”

Collins said the clincher for him came for him just three weeks before he called it quits when he was almost squashed by an impatient driver while unloading.

“Trying to fit his rigid into a gap, he just about squashed me between my trailer and his truck.

“That was about the last straw. I said to the mrs, I’m f**k’n over it. There’s plenty of other shit, it’s just everything.

“Back in the day it was good, blokes used to stop and help. Now you’ll break down on the side of the highway and blokes will just blast past you at 100. They don’t even take a second look.

“You could be on the side of the road having a heart attack and be stuck there for a day before anyone stopped.”

Collins, who has been driving since he was 18 after being inspired to follow his truckie father into the industry, says he’d like to see an overhaul of the licensing system and more investment in training.

“Not just a ticket, and here you go, jump in this machine and go. A bit more like an apprenticeship, so you earn your stripes and work your way up.

“I was lucky that I was born into transport, but I think there’s better ways we can educate people on how the game works.”

Collins says he’ll still jump behind the wheel and “have a steer”. But he’ll wait until he gets the caravan over to WA where it’s a bit safer.

“Like I said to the old man, I still love trucks, it’s in my blood. I’ll miss it every day, it’s what we do.

“It’s just the way it all is now. It’s just too hard.

“I always promised the mrs and kids that when it gets too hard and I’m getting too stressed, then that’s it, I’ve had enough.

“Now I’m doing the right thing by them and taking them around Australia and putting some time back into them.”

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