ARTSA and NBTA call for stability control to be mandated

A joint statement from the Australian Transport Suppliers Association and National Bulk Tanker Association is calling for Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which includes a rollover stability feature to be introduced on all trucks. The statement reckons the argument for mandating ESC is compelling, following the recommendation of a NSW Coronial Inquest into four deaths on the Princes Highway in 2009 and the likely outcome of an investigation into the Mona Vale tanker crash last October. Read more

New Volvo video

Continuing on with the theme of the epic split video with Jean Claude Van Damme. The latest video to hit YouTube is a ‘Making of Epic Split’ documentary. Some of the mistakes and supposed out-takes are included in this short video.

The liberal use of Volvo branding may mean this video has a short shelf life online.

 

Young driver competition from Scania

Scania are running their global Young Truck Driver of the Year competition again this year and have released a reality TV style video to crank up the publicity machine for the competitions as they unfold in many countries around the world. So far, the Scania organisation here in Australia have not announced whether they will be holding a competition for the Young Australian Truck Driver of the  Year. However, the event has been successful for them in the past, so we can be pretty sure the event will be going ahead later in the year.

 

 

The essence of the competition is simple. A number of rounds of tests to see who is the most complete truck driver. Not only driving skills, but safety awareness and the kind of diplomacy all truckies need are also included in the equation.

Perhaps the most positive side to the YATD competition is the chance it gives for the really good guys and galls, who make the trucking industry such a great industry to get involved in, a chance for their moment in the limelight. Let’s hope seeing the experience of the driver in the video doesn’t deter drivers from putting their skills on the line!

The Russians are crazy!

Watching this video demonstrates just how crazy the Russians are. These spectacular incidents are nearly all caused by stupid disregard for other road users, or snow and ice, and sometimes both. Incongruously, there is a clip from a Volvo safety testing video in the middle of this. How it got in there we will never know.

Needless to say, these are serious matters and something all truckies contemplate travelling down the highway at 100 km/h, stuck to front of 60-odd tonnes of truck. Perhaps these images will get people to think a little more about their fellows on the road in future.

Road trains in Victoria

Roads trains on the road in Victoria are a rare sight but a few heads will have turned when these trucks came through. Kennedy trailers had built a large quad tipper set for McAleese Resources and managed to get a permit from VicRoads to take the trailers from their plant to the customer in pairs.

There will be very few occasions when a triaxle dolly would have been seen on the roads of Victoria, but there it is. Let’s hope there were no phoned in complaints from the general public, but with a bit of luck Vic Roads were watching and saw how easily a well set up A-double can handle routes where a B-double is allowed.

More Outback Truckers

The return of the controversial Outback Truckers is tonight at 9.30 on Channel 7 Mate. The production company, Prospero, have released a second promo video on Facebook and Vimeo:

From the footage shown, the series simply picks up where we left off in series one with various ‘characters’ struggling through the bush to get the job done.

Let’s hope the story told remains a positive one, we can’t be too precious about what goes on in the trucking industry, and the takeaway for the viewer from the first series was about how tough truckies have it on a day to day basis.

For all its flaws, the ABC Four Corners program probably ended up giving a similar message. There was plenty about the issues truckies face and a search for their causes.

On Monday the trucking industry was looking down the barrel of two potentially damaging TV programs in one week. We are now coming to the end of the week and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Perhaps we will be able to enjoy the Outback Truckers tonight without too much trepidation.

The robot trucks are coming

The prospect of driverless trucks would fill most car drivers with dread but the technology is now available and being demonstrated by the US Army. This video shows a demonstration organised by the US Military at Fort Hood in Texas earlier this month.

The project has been developed by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centre (TARDEC) and US defence supplier Lockheed Martin. The venture demonstrated the ability of fully autonomous convoys to operate in urban environments with multiple vehicles of different models.

The system has been called the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) program, and the test involved driverless tactical vehicles navigating hazards and obstacles such as road intersections, oncoming traffic, stalled and passing vehicles, pedestrians and roundabouts in both urban and rural test areas.

If this technology is now becoming available to the military, it is in the interest of the manufacturers to find a civilian commercial application of the technology in order to spread the development costs around a larger number of production units at a lower price.

Trucking in the USA

Here is a great compilation of quality video of trucks on the road in North America. It illustrates some of the amazing countryside the trucks travel through but also, surprisingly, a high proportion of doubles, B-trains, probably in Canada. Great shots with an appropriate soundtrack.

Surprisingly, the YouTube post comes from an Australian singer/songwriter, Caede Ridgway. The love affair between the Aussie truckie and US trucks looks set to continue….

Outback Truckers have come back

For good or ill, the new season of Outback Truckers starts next month. The first series caused a lot of angst in the industry and the second series is not likely to do any better. Those involved in the show didn’t show the industry in a good light and some organisations connected with the production pulled out as it went to air because of some less than responsible behaviour by drivers.

The preview of the new show tells us we can expect more of the same. The sensationalist side of TV is what sells and the first series has been sold in Europe and North America. Prepare for more cringeworthy moments as well meaning truckers talk to camera and reinforce the negative stereotypes many people put on us all in the trucking industry.

What have we got to fear? This is what the trucking industry is like and we will have to learn to live with it. There is no point in sitting on the sidelines whinging about the negative side of the story. It is our job to get the positives out there in a professional way to allow the vast majority of the trucking industry to show their reality to the outside world.

Anecdotally, the reaction by many of the general public has not been about the occasional incidents which worry trucking representatives. The main takeaway seems to be just how tough life is on the road, surprise at the conditions they have to face and appreciation of the truckies out there doing the job.

Final video of the Dakar Truck Rally

The Dakar Truck Rally is over for this year with the world getting a short sharp dose of trucks racing around in a dry, dusty and remote desert somewhere in South America. The event really gives the truck world a chance to show just what can be done with a truck in extreme conditions. Here is some of this year’s footage.

 


US – Best of Truck – Dakar 2014 by Dakar

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