A Very Steep Learning Curve 

a very steep learning curve

Deciding to quit Moto-cross after a successful career as both rider and team manager was the start of a very steep learning curve for Troy Carroll. Now, four years down the track PowerTorque spoke to him him at the helm of his very own trucking company, Carroll Group Australia.

“When I started driving, I didn’t know anything about things like Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Chain of Responsibility (CoR), but I have certainly learnt all about these regulations and the many others since then,” Troy says, adding that it was quite a shift going from being the hero of a sport to driving a truck.

However, he soon realised that if he kept driving it would mean lots of time away from his family, the very reason he had left the Motocross world behind.

“I started driving in November 2017 and then in January 2018 I put a driver in the truck while I took my family and parents away for a big holiday in Singapore and Thailand,” Troy says. “And I thought, ‘how good’s this, I’m making money while I’m away on holidays’.

“So when I came back I decided to shift things up a gear and started doing courses to learn everything I needed to know about running a trucking business.”

a very steep learning curve

Care for employees

Troy regards his employees as the backbone of the business and tries to look after them accordingly. Despite this, he says, the company still has a relatively high turnover of drivers, around three to four per year.

“I think every transport company has the same issue,” says Troy. “We have a couple of guys who have been with us a fair while, so we try to look after them by giving them the new gear.”

Other niceties the company now fits to its new line-haul trucks include IcePack cab air-conditioners, fridges, microwave ovens and televisions.

“This way the drivers can take their meals with them as a potentially healthier and more cost-effective option compared with buying food at truck stops,” says Troy.

Somewhat unusually for long distance driving work, Troy pays his drivers by the hour rather than a per kilometre rate and he says, depending on what projects are on at the time, they average between 3,500 and 5,500km per week.

a very steep learning curve

“They generally leave on Monday morning and get back Friday evening or Saturday morning, we try to get them home for the weekends wherever possible,” Troy says. “We also stipulate that they don’t drive between 10pm and 5am, unless approved by management, in the interests of optimised safety and effective fatigue management.”

As for the reasoning behind paying the drivers an hourly rate, Troy says he believes they should be paid while they rest in the bunk if they have to wait to get unloaded.

“If they get to a site and there’s a four or five-hour delay I’d rather the driver be happy to get in his bunk and have a sleep knowing he’s still getting paid while he rests,” says Troy. “Sure it costs us more money but I know I’m looking after the driver and he’s getting more money for his family, and at the end of the day we’re all about family here.” 

a very steep learning curve

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