One of the most passionate advocates for a more harmonious relationship between caravanners and truckies is reconsidering his future as a road safety campaigner.
Ken Wilson, manager of the popular Truck Friendly caravan moment, announced today that he and wife Jenny were reluctantly thinking of folding the program that has quickly amassed more than 18,000 Facebook followers.
“Without any on-going funding, we are finding it very hard for us to continue in a meaningful manner,” said Wilson.
“This commitment has taken its toll on health, family budget and family life over the last few years.
“We have had a few wonderful sponsors helping to fund our stickers and brochures, but it seems any further funding from local, state or federal government.
“Even the larger road safety organisations are out of the question, despite us persisting with various funding submissions where we get zero response even to say ‘thanks but no-thanks!’.”
Wilson said Truck Friendly still receives numerous requests from caravan parks, caravan clubs, police, and councils for all areas of Australia for it to assist with information at workshops, club rallies and expos.
“Unfortunately, without funding we can not accept these requests.”
Wilson’s frustration at the lack of support is only exacerbated when he compares Truck Friendly’s popularity with that of the federal government-backed RV Safe program.
RV Safe launched in December 2019 – just four months after Truck Friendly – with $1.1 million of taxpayers money spread over four years.
At the time of writing, RV Safe had just 541 followers on Facebook. Big Rigs has not heard from the project once in that time, yet is regularly sent truck-relevant information and releases by Wilson.
Wilson said he’s disappointed that the future of the volunteer organisation is now up in the air. His home state of Queensland has the highest caravan densities in Australia and is currently on track for one of the highest road tolls in decades.
Truck Friendly evolved out of the award-winning ‘Stay on Track Outback’ (SOTO) caravan safety program run by the Queensland Police at Charleville Qld in 2017/18.
In the first two years, SOTO helped reduce caravan accidents in the Charleville Police district by 50 per cent, proving education works, said Wilson.
However, due to SOTO’s continuing funding delays, changes in police leadership and eventual demise, Wilson decided to take Truck Friendly as a standalone program.
Today, Truck Friendly helps educate on safe caravan towing practices and working in a cooperative manner with other road users including heavy transport. The program also has a unique ‘I’M TRUCK FRIENDLY’ caravan sticker program to promote cooperation between all road users.
“We would love nothing more than to do this full-time and help create an even safer environment for everyone on the road – especially caravanners, RV’er’s and truckies,” added Wilson.
“We will take the next few weeks to consider our options before making any final decisions.”