A truckie’s best 3 Rs to recite before turning the key

turning the key

If we as individuals, owner drivers and small fleet operators want to see real fundamental change in this critically important road transport sector, we need to come to the realisation that we need to change. 

We need to ask ourselves, how do I see myself as an as an owner-driver or a small business operator?

How do I see my role in this critically important industry, what contribution do I make in keeping Australia moving, keeping Australians alive? 

Do I give myself the Recognition I deserve for the job I do?

Do I give myself the Respect I deserve for the Job I do?

Do I expect the Remuneration I deserve for the job I do?

I learnt a long time ago that if I wanted something to change, I had to change myself. 

Let me share a couple of items from the recent Senate Committee findings on the road transport industry. 


The heavy vehicle sector is one of the most dangerous industries in Australia, with an average of 180 deaths per year and an increasing number of hospitalisations. These workplace injuries, traumas and deaths have immense social and economic impacts on drivers, their families, businesses and the general public. The economic cost of road crashes alone equates to $27 billion per year, with approximately 1500 crashes resulting in hospitalisation and a further 11,000 crashes also leading to injuries.


Scrutiny of the road transport sector is largely focused upon the risk-taking behaviour of drivers (such as driving whilst fatigued, drug use and speeding), and consequent enforcement mechanisms. It is the committee’s view that there are insufficient efforts to address the underlying systemic causes for such behaviour.

For far too long owner-drivers and small fleet operators have been sold this perception by the media, the politicians and the bureaucrats that we are a curse on the roads, and we are an ignorant bunch of yobbos who kill innocent people. The sad part of it all is that we have bought into the belief and the time has come for us as individuals to change this belief we have of ourselves. 

As owner-drivers and small fleet operators we need to demand the Recognition we deserve for the amazing job we do keeping Australia moving. We don’t jump in the cab of a truck to kill and maim but to keep millions of Australians alive.

As owner-drivers and small fleet operators we need to demand the Respect we deserve from the general public, the politician and the bureaucrats for the job we do. As individual we are no different than any of them. When we get behind the wheel of the truck we want to come home to our families and loved one the same as everyone else. 

As owner driver and small fleet operators we need to demand the Remuneration we deserve to keep our vehicles and equipment properly maintained, to work sustainable hours to ensure that we are not pushing ourselves or our drivers to make ends meet. We need to be fairly compensated for the thankless, demanding job we do.

As owner drivers and small fleet operators we need to remind yourselves every time you step into a truck. I Recognise what an amazing job I do. I Respect myself for the dedicated individual I am. I deserve to be Remunerated in a manner that makes me and my business safe and viable.

Unless you as owner-drivers and small fleet operators begin to believe in yourselves and the critical job you do nothing will change in this industry. 

If you want something to change, change yourself and become your own best cheer leader and start telling yourself every day what a bloody amazing job you really do.

About the author:

Graham Cotter’s passion is for small business, especially the road transport sector, and the significant role it plays in the Australian economy. 

Having both managed and owned a small-fleet operation for a number of years, Townsville-based Cotter has witnessed first-hand the difficulties small-business operators face in the day-to-day aspect of running a transport business and has now dedicated his life to assisting other business owners.

Cotter is also the author of Don’t Suck the Pencils.

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