I’m sure by now most of you reading this will have seen, or heard about the now viral video featuring the Ron Finemore Transport B-double with the destroyed rims at Moree.
There’s plenty of room for jumping to conclusions and just plain making things up.
When I saw the video I said to myself this bloke has made a monumental mistake here and it looks like he doesn’t even care about it.
I said I was disappointed about that. I laid the blame fair square on the driver. Like many people I based my beliefs on what I could see on the video and the drivers reaction to the situation. I assumed the bloke doing the video had followed the truck into the parking area and the driver was looking at the damage for the first time. That’s the way it looked on the video.
I was always going to talk about this incident on the weekly podcast. How could I not? I had the link to the video sent to me no less than 35 times. I’ve also had more than a few messages and even a couple of calls saying there’s the evidence on film. How do people come to this country and just get a licence and a job?
I’m well on the record stating drivers, no matter where they come from, need to be properly trained and assessed before they’re allowed on the road.
Now would you like to know what really happened?
In the interest of truth telling I decided to contact Finemores and see if I could get someone to comment on the incident. If they chose to not comment then the way was open for me to say I’d tried to get their side, they declined and I could put my thoughts forward however I chose.
Mark Parry (managing director at Finemores) called me back. We had a full and frank discussion on the incident. What lead up to it and the reasons we find ourselves looking at destroyed rims in a parking area.
Finemores are conducting an investigation on the incident. They have cooperated fully with police and NHVR investigations. The driver has been stood down pending the outcome of the investigation.
I asked Mr Parry if the driver looked like being terminated. He said that the investigation needed to be completed but where drivers told the truth and cooperated then they were usually retained.
Mr Parry told me they had over 1300 applications and had employed 100 drivers. All drivers go through several interviews, tests and a medical before being employed. Then they have internal training and inductions and finally do several ‘buddy’ runs before the get out on their own. Finemores don’t use agency drivers and use very few sub contractors.
The short story, this bloke didn’t just jump off a plane, swing by the RMS to pick up a licence and flop into a seat. I’m informed since he commenced employment he’s had no prior incidents.
It appears the super single tyre on the centre axle failed. The likely explanation for this is damage to the tyre from the road surface or some object on the road.
The driver identified that and due to the fact he wasn’t in a safe area to pull over also given the recent wet weather he was reluctant to move off the road, a decision I can understand, he decided to continue until he had good phone service and a safe stopping place.
In the process of doing that he unfortunately had another tyre fail. The driver did also identify that. He contacted his operations staff and reported the issues. As a side note here I’ve spoken to several operators running out where this happened who said they’d seen tyres damaged by the road and I can attest there are some bad spots out there. According to the detailed maintenance records for the trailer the tyres were nearly new and the pressures had been recently checked.
It’s important to understand the situation this driver finds himself in and the ‘rock and a hard place’ decisions he’s got to make. If he pulls off the road and gets stuck or the trailer falls over he doesn’t win. If he keeps going there’s a risk there.
He has no ability to change the tyre. You can’t just pick those up at the local tyre shop either. It’s also the weekend. I can empathise with the driver. All the luck he’s having is bad. He’s spoken with operations. Ultimately the truck ends up at Moree and the driver has to wait for repairs.
Now to the video. The truck had been sitting there for at least seven hours before the video was made. The driver notices the individuals looking around the back of his truck and he gets out. This is why he’s saying it’s alright, etc. Then, as we see, things go downhill from there.
Having seen the video and now knowing the background what we’re seeing becomes understandable, the driver being upset with the video becomes understandable. He really should have headed back to the cabin and pulled the curtains.
Where does this leave us?
I feel, the driver has made a series of decisions that individually all make sense. His options are limited and he’s done what we’ve all done at one time or another, he’s pushed his luck. Unfortunately for him he hasn’t won. If he’d managed to get in with one blown tyre we wouldn’t even be talking about it.
Everyone knows I call ’em as I see them. No fear or favour. I’ll give this bloke the benefit of the doubt. I hope he keeps his job and I also hope he gets a fair go because I think he deserves it.
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