Covid 19 has changed the way we live, the way we conduct our everyday activities and our environment.
We now have guidelines that dictate to us how we wash our hands, who and how many we can associate with. It feels draconian but they say it’s for our safety. They are right.
As essential workers the Truck drivers of Australia, the much maligned Truckie, is on the front line continuing to move freight around the country under strict rules and regulations. Within the new guidelines it seemed the powers that be didn’t understand just how an interstate truck driver lives day to day on the highway and outback.
Take away food only for everyone across the board the rest of the roadhouse closed. Not a problem for most but what about the truck driver and managing his fatigue? In the truck 24/7, no break from the confines of their metal box. The one issue that was seemingly ignored was access to bathroom facilities. No daily ablutions for a truckie?
Frantic tweets and facebook posts where made on the trucking pages for anyone that would listen. Messages were sent to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Sen. Glenn Sterle, Michael McCormack MP, Scott Buchholz MP, ATA, Nat Roads, SARTA, WRF, to name just a few of the people who were called to arms.
A facebook page was created – Truck Drivers Food and Showers Australia Wide https://www.facebook.com/groups/651183172379153/. The group gained momentum fast and had drivers reporting issues at the servos/roadhouses around Australia. John Gilbert from the NHVR was very quick to join the group and monitor just where the problems/issues laid as was Senator Sterle. BP was contacted and in turn very quickly found an immediate solution to the issues being discussed.
The solution seemed to be two fold a synergy of sorts, firstly it keeps the showers and toilets open for the drivers and secondly it keeps businesses open and staff employed. There was still one problem, no sit down meals and this was causing undue pressure on the drivers in regards to their mental health, it was giving new meaning to the phrase ‘cabin fever’.
The NHVR, Senator Glenn Sterle, other MP’s and transport groups took up the challenge and got the message thru loud and clear to the National Parliament of what was happening and what they felt was a pragmatic solution to the issue.
The facebook page and all the submissions to the National Parliament were heard and strict new guidelines are now in place to allow truckies to enter the roadhouse and have a sit down meal.
One guideline in particular about the drivers behaviour towards staff members. There had been several reports of drivers abusing roadhouse staff, it was on the facebook page for everyone to see. The behaviour is generally not welcomed by most truck drivers. It was within this guideline that the drivers have been told they will loose this privilege if even one report of abuse is received.
REMEMBER – these are facilities are for ALL drivers and are not to be abused nor are the employees. Nor should the roadhouses have to pay to fix things damaged by drivers because they are having a bad day. It’s simple, be respectful, don’t spread excrement around the roadhouses, don’t be a tosser. This way at least the four or more people employed there will keep their job.
If you go to the facebook page you will see daily posts about the roadhouses/servos/pubs/cafes/motels and peoples private homes who are willing to help the drivers in these unprecedented times. If there are issues contact the NHVR so they can at least know and try and resolve any issues that arise. Their hotline number is 1800 931 785
The NHVR also have a dedicated comprehensive Covid 19 website page https://www.nhvr.gov.au/about-us/coronavirus-response