An owner-driver based in NSW has said he thinks truckies can be “overly negative” towards the industry, with the NHVR bearing the brunt of it.
Karl Thomas, who owned a fleet of 13 prime movers with his company Karl’s Transport but downsized to just one truck last year, said that in his opinion, the NHVR are quite approachable.
“A lot of older blokes are very negative towards the industry. That can get you down,” he said.
“Truckies are great at whinging amongst themselves in roadhouses and on Facebook, but never speak to the people trying to make some change.
“I find the NHVR 100 per cent approachable and helpful.”
Thomas finds the NHVR much better than they were 20 years ago when it comes to things like logbooks.
“Old fellas always carry on about spelling mistakes, when in the front of the book there’s a section that went in in 2008 that says you can’t be done for spelling mistakes,” he continued.
“So you’re still whinging about something that went out 15 years ago!”
He shared a story of the NHVR helping him out after he spoke to a staff member at a truck show.
“We had trouble with unhooking road trains on the street in Adelaide and we had this smart alec copper coming around, he was knocking us off all the time.
“It got to the point where I organised a yard to split up the road train and then took the trailers out and dropped them on the street. I could prove that I had done that.
“Anyway, this copper saw the trailers and dolly on the street and stuck a fine to the trailer for splitting up the road train on a suburban street.”
He continued: “I was talking to the NHVR about it at a truck show and they said ‘Put it in an email and send it to us,’ and we were never hassled again.
“I don’t know if the NHVR told the coppers to pull their heads in or exactly what happened. But I’ve always felt like I could speak to the NHVR for help.”
He said he knows he will probably be criticised for his views, but he doesn’t care.
“I’ve been called a suckhole a few times, but I don’t feel like I’m the stupid one here!” he said.
“I own my truck, I’m doing what I like doing, and I’m pretty positive about the industry.”
Thomas got his truck licence at the age of 19 and is now in his mid-40s.
He said that over the course of his entire career, experienced drivers have complained about new ones entering the industry.
“I was 23 and my cousin was 19 when Harris let us tow a road train to Perth,” he remembered.
“We were in Southern Cross bp and there was a table of older blokes deliberately talking loudly about us – ‘They’ll let anyone drive a road train now, blah blah.’
He laughed: “We got down on our hands and knees and rolled cars to each other with ‘vroom vroom’ noises.
“Strangely enough, we had zero road train experience when we towed our first road train – unlike a lot of blokes that must have had 20 years of experience the first time they did it.”
Thomas said the trucking industry is a great one to be part of, you just need to make an effort to surround yourself with positive people.
“The positive truckies kind of keep to themselves, but are pretty easy to spot,” he said.
“If you see someone giving their tanks and wheels a quick squirt off before they send it – that’s the kind of behaviour you don’t see much anymore.
“I find the happiest blokes are the ones that take a bit of pride in their gear.”