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Tide turning toward drivers

IT'S National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in the US as I write this.

All over the country, the men and women who bust their gut sacrificing many of life's luxuries so we can have ours, are being celebrated.

Now that's a concept worth bringing Down Under, don't you think?

Especially when we hear of how some of our drivers have been treated this week.

Ones like Queensland battler Peter Lewis who was hit with a $10,000 fine for green-lighting a trailer load of hay that was just fractionally over the allowable limit.

He wasn't flogging it off for the highest buck - it was heading to a drought-stricken farmer doing all he could to keep his livestock alive.

And what makes that even harder to swallow, is that in neighbouring NSW, where Peter has done much of his driving, the load would have been perfectly legal.

We've got to get more consistency - and simplicity - around basic rules like this. How hard can it be to fix this?

We heard similar messages from drivers at the ALC and ATA Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Summit in Melbourne.

Stories of how they're made to wait around on site for ridiculously long periods, are suffocating in audits and then have to scramble to make up the time.

Let's hope the new Chain of Responsibility laws that come into play on October 1, turn the tide back their way.

The early signs are that they will.

Suddenly the executives and those behind the scenes are waking to the fact it's not just the driver who will be at fault if something goes awry. If you're anywhere along the supply chain, it's your neck that's also on the line.

Maybe now the drivers will finally start to get the respect they deserve.

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