A truck driver who has been on the road for over 40 years says the news of the NHVR’s month-long fatigue blitz leading into Christmas has pushed him to consider quitting the industry.
James Camrolakis, 63, said his stress levels are “through the roof” and the ever-present threat of being fined is taking a serious toll on his mental health.
“I’m at the end of the rope,” he told Big Rigs.
“The end-to-end trip is a non-stop worry.
“I’m constantly asking myself, am I going to get through the cameras without getting pulled up for something?”
Camrolakis, who is based in Berri, SA, argued that more leniency is needed when it comes to things like BFM and logbooks.
“Has a spelling area got anything to do with safety? Or being three minutes over in your logbook?
“I understand that random checks are a part of being a truck driver, but it’s the way that people get treated and these unbelievable fines that are causing us so much anxiety.
“I told someone from the NHVR about the stress they are putting me through and they said ‘Well if you feel like that, you should just quit.’ That’s how much they care.”
He said the harsh approach of the NHVR is deterring young people from entering the trucking industry.
“They are trying to get more people into the industry and nobody wants to do it, and it’s no wonder why,” he continued.
“When we’re on the road we’re thinking about our families, we’re thinking about bills we have to pay.
“We don’t need the added draconic attitude of the NHVR breathing down our necks every kilometre along the way.”
Camrolakis said he came across a fellow truckie on social media who was facing fines of $108,000.
“Can you imagine the stress of something like that? That could ruin a person’s life.
“I really don’t want to quit – I’m only 63, I’d like to make it to proper retirement age – but I don’t think I’m going to last that long.”
The NHVR and police are out in force on the roads this month in what has been billed as Operation Forager.
The regulator’s chief operations officer, Paul Salvati, told Big Rigs that the operation should not be seen as a “blitz” and truckies should not feel like they are being unfairly targeted.
He said the operation’s aim is to raise greater awareness of the importance of managing fatigue when driving, and making sure employers aren’t forcing drivers to do more hours than they should during what is the busiest time of the year for many truckies.
He was also quick to allay fears amongst some drivers that the operation that is running up to Christmas across across NSW, Queensland, Victoria, SA, ACT and Tasmania, is all about “revenue raising”.
“That is not how we operate. Almost none of the revenue from infringements comes to us,” Salvati stressed.