TA2019:'It's like 10 tonne is lifted off your shoulders'
GLENN 'Yogi' Kendall was stewing all morning on how best to succinctly convey to delegates at Trucking Australia 2019 in Perth why the WA truck driving experience trumped that of his eastern seaboard colleagues.
Then he remembered the rollercoaster interstate run he made in August last year.
After being 'nailed' with a hefty fine for a four-minute work diary misstep in Penong - later rescinded with the help of the NHVR - four hours later he rocked up to the WA border and was asked to produce an extra mass permit.
"When they pulled me over and asked for the permit, one of the trailer rego's said 161 rather than 616, so the nice police officer just said get that sorted when you get home," said Yogi, guest speaker along with Heather Jones of Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls fame in the What Makes WA Trucking Great session.
"When you get to the WA border, it feels like 10-tonne has been lifted off your shoulders.
"It's so rigid and so strong in the eastern states, it's almost unworkable. You're constantly thinking, 'what have I have done yesterday to stay a day in the future?'."
Heather said it's got to the point now that when a client asks her to venture east in one of the signature PHHG pink trucks she politely refuses to put herself through the stress.
"We took our two beautiful pink trucks over to Brisbane a couple of years ago and in Queensland we were followed and pulled over by police officers," said Heather.
"My work diary went back 12 months because I don't do a lot of work on east coast, and on one of the days I'd forgotten to total up total driving hours in the little box and one of the officers said, 'I'm going to fine you for that'."
For Yogi, the contrasting flexibility he experiences as a driver in WA is a lifesaver in his business Kendall Trucking & Co.
"We're not treated like robots [in WA]. We're treated like human beings and in the transport industry as a driver and an owner-operator, that's really what we want to be treated like."
Heather reiterated that WA's Main Road officers are more focused on education than dishing out the punitive penalties we constantly hear about in the NHVR-governed states from disgruntled Big Rigs' readers.
"We have an awesome Main Roads system which handles and deals with all our permitting system, and we have a better fatigue management system; 17 hours that we can work within," she added.
"And we still have that mateship out on the highway, where it's not about kilometres and dollars, it's about looking after each other up and down the highway."
Yogi, however, was also quick to add that it's not simply the Wild West, where no rules apply. If you have a fatigue-related incident in WA, by the time you get home WorkSafe will be at your front door, he said.
But he also said that the increased flexibility in WA takes away all incentive to cut corners and take unnecessary risks.
"We're at the forefront of the transport industry and how the transport system should work," concluded Yogi.
"We're regulated, we're ruled and we need to be there at some of these HVNL reviews. There needs to be a very happy medium between the east and west, and it needs to happen now."