Opinion

Drivers are being pushed beyond their limits and treated like lepers

truckie

Last week a well-respected driver was lost to Heaven’s Highway, and today when we are having our morning coffee and chin wag we counted seven major accidents involving trucks in less than 24 hours.

With such seasoned operators succumbing to the pressures to keep driving, we really need to reassess what is causing, or contributing to, so many unnecessary deaths in our industry.

No, it’s got nothing to do with the race of the driver, unlike what too many on the various social media pages try to say! No, we don’t need more regulation! No, we don’t need more enforcement, well not on the drivers anyway.

The rash of crashes – for what my opinion is worth – is real fatigue and piss-poor support when the driver says they’re tired, said one advocate when asked.

We reckon they are pretty close to the money and here is a couple of examples why.

  • A friend to one of us was told: “No, you can’t have your 24-hour break or you can close the gate behind you”. The owner’s wife pulled him into line very quickly and the driver got his 24-hour break
  • Another has reported to the NHVR hotline about the office staff changing telematics to match their version of the days’ runs. Nothing has been done despite evidence being available.

Drivers are being pushed beyond the limits, get treated like lepers, are restricted with what and where they are allowed to attend – even for a damn toilet, never mind a shower or a sleep.

Small businesses, that make up the majority of the industry, can’t afford the enforced down-time by big business and customers, so ask the drivers to do more with less.

Medium-big business SAY they follow the rules, but schedulers manipulate the records to make it appear legal while making drivers drive regardless of their fatigue and despite their legal obligations.

The drivers are ‘encouraged’ to work to the work diary regardless of the law that states they MUST NOT DRIVE while fatigued – not just MUST NOT DRIVE OUTSIDE THE RULE SET!

It’s too much pressure on the drivers. Covid has taken a lot out of the number of drivers available to work, forcing the rest to cover for those not available.

It’s an absolute mess and no wonder there are so many collisions at the moment!

If you ask the customers, they say they’re not causing any of this, but the ongoing pressures with low payments and the possibility of losing the customer because they can go elsewhere for a couple of $$’s cheaper is a massive killer – literally!

Then to top that all off you STILL have the issue of parking for drivers, especially in the cities.

All that will be done now is more blitzing, more enforcement, more accidents, more technology, more money spent on alleged safety initiatives.

Why don’t they audit the CoR… starting at allocators? To difficult? How? So, let’s ignore the problem and blame the drivers.

Why isn’t there a campaign directed at customers about how a logbook works and how it ripples through the supply chain when a driver is MADE to manipulate their book to make it look like they haven’t broken the law?

If customers were more knowledgeable about how they impact the safety and their actual role in the chain of responsibility, they wouldn’t be able to deny their role and the increased pressure they put on the driver, and the effect.

To those perfect people who say “Well, they can say no”, well, we all can’t be perfect can we?

Anyone for a whine? Oops, I meant wine!

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