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Pacific Hwy fully reopens after truck inferno
UPDATE, 2.30pm: ALL lanes are reopened on the Pacific Highway after a nearly 12 hour operation to clear the roadway after a truck inferno.
Traffic is still being managed in the area.
Authorities are unsure how long the road closure may be in place.
UPDATE, 10.11am: ONE of two northbound lanes on the Pacific Highway has been reopened following a truck inferno earlier this morning.
Burnt out truck on Pacific Highway
Monday 8.55am: THE driver of his now charred truck watched on as emergency services move to clear the vehicle's remains and burnt cargo off the road way.
Rural Fire Service volunteers and Roads and Maritime are working quickly to re-open at least one of the northbound lanes on the Pacific Hwy.
The driver told the Northern Star he saw the flames erupt from the cab when he attempted to park the truck at the turning bay near Watsons Ln.
The driver than fled the vehicle onto the nature strip where he watched his vehicle and its goods become engulfed in the inferno.
An RMS official said It is unknown at this stage when the road will re-open.
Emergency services move in to clean up burnt out truck.
INITIAL Monday 7.44am: A TRUCK fire at 3am this morning has caused the Pacific Highway near Bangalow Road to be closed.
The vehicle was transporting beer and mixed goods.
The northbound lane is closed and motorists are being diverted on to the Hinterland Way in Tintenbar.
Emergency services are on the scene placing sand on the road and motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible.
Diversions are suitable for all vehicles.
Retired truckie gutted by damage to retro van
Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van.
MAKING the plea for public information, a retired truck driver from Ballina has described the vandalism of his retro van as gut wrenching.
Tony Baker, 60, discovered the 1988 Viscount Ambassador he lovingly refurbished after rescuing it from a paddock six year ago, coated in graffiti on Tuesday morning.
Returning home after two week trip from Noosa, Mr Baker and his wife found the car at 7.45am, covered in bright yellow spray paint.
Mr Baker claimed vandals targeted a two square metre Australian flag he hand-painted on the front of the vehicle with particular malice.
Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van. Contributed
"They've just gone around it with a can of yellow paint, just crazy, all over the white," Mr Baker said.
"There was an Australian flag on the front I painted, being an old proud aussie, and it was all painted over with yellow.
"It was as though they did it out of disgust, it's like they thought the Australian flag shouldn't be there."
An Australian themed beach surf mural on one side of the van, painted by Mr Baker's now passed away friend was also destroyed.
Man to face multiple charges after low-speed police chase
The left truck the roadway at Hanson Rd onto a dirt track and coming to rest in a paddock at about 5.50am.
Police have charged a 31-year-old Beenleigh man with 12 offences after a truck was allegedly stolen at Marburg this morning.
It will be alleged a man entered a trucking business on the Warrego Highway at Marburg at 5.35am, stealing a prime mover and crashing through a chain wire fence as he drove from the property, causing significant damage.
A police motorcycle officer attempted to intercept the vehicle however it failed to stop and continued travelling towards Amberley.
The truck entered Commonwealth property located on Hanson Rd, Amberley crashing through a locked gate. It came to stop in a paddock at 5.50am and the driver was taken into custody.
A 31-year-old man was due to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with three counts of willful damage/destruction, and one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, fail to stop a motor vehicle, unlicensed driving, driving whilst relevant drug present in blood, fail to take reasonable care in disposal of a syringe, trespass, enter premises with intent and enter premises and commit an indictable offence.
Stolen truck smashes through RAAF Base fence
UPDATE: A 31-year-old man is assisting police with their inquiries following a traffic crash in Amberley this morning.
Initial investigations suggest a man entered an address on the Warrego Highway at around 5.34am, stole a prime mover and fled in the truck by driving through a fence on the property.
The truck was driven toward Amberley when police tracked him down and followed at low speeds.
The left truck the roadway at Hanson Rd onto a dirt track and coming to rest in a paddock at about 5.50am.
The man was not injured.
Investigations are continuing and anyone with information relating to this matter is urged to contact police.
EARLIER: A man has allegedly stolen a truck from a Karrabin business and fled from police in the early hours of this morning.
A 31-year-old Beenleigh man is assisting police with their inquiries after the truck was allegedly stolen at 5.34am.
Police have pursued the driver at low speeds before he lost control of the vehicle and crashed through a fence at the rear of RAAF Base Amberley on Haigslea-Amberley Rd.
No charges have been laid so far.
Fines, fees and levies targeted
When Brenton Vanstone was holidaying in New Zealand, the local newspaper, The Herald on Sunday, caught his eye.
The newspaper devoted a double-page spread to Australian billionaire David Dicker and his dream to build the world’s fastest track car for mega-millionaires.
Dicker, whose hardware distribution company had sales of more than a billion dollars last year, chose New Zealand for his project instead of Australia because he felt his homeland was “hopelessly restrictive”.
“The ‘red tape’ is getting worse in New Zealand, but it is still way, way better than in Australia,” he was quoted as saying.
Fast-forward to the Wandearah farmer and former Port Pirie mayor’s return to Australia ,,, he is now in the midst of chairing a ‘red tape’ committee set up by Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North.
High on his list of “fines, fees and levies” that need to be disputed is the registration and third-party cost for a truckie operating a B-double.
Mr Vanstone, who is a contender for Liberal preselection for the seat of Frome in Balaklava on Saturday, is outraged that the registration and third-party cost is about $18,000.
“These fines, fees and levies – it is a case of the unproductive preying on the productive,” he said.
He said victims of “red tape” also had to contend with their own deadlines and paypackets.
He knows of a truckie who lives “out of town” and who has a prime mover and various trailers and assemblies with a total bill of almost $50,000 for state government insurance and registration.
“Despite this, we hear the trucking industry maligned,” he said.
“I know ‘red tape’ reduction is a buzzword through government, but we are keen to see what has actually been done about it.”
He said the committee would first seek feedback from businesses and evidence from the public sector about “constrictions and obstructions” that cause undue cost and frustration in daily activities. The Recorder is seeking comment from the state government.
UPS launches drone from delivery van
Workhorse’s Horsefly can carry 4.5kg packages to vans autonomously
UPS has successfully tested a US drone that launches from the top of one of its distinctive large delivery vans, the global express parcel company says.
Its drone system autonomously delivers a package to a home and then returns to the ‘UPS package car’ while the delivery driver continues along the route to make a separate delivery.
The system was tested in Florida in conjunction with Workhorse Group, a battery-electric truck and drone developer. Workhorse built the drone and the electric package car used in the test.
"This test is different than anything we’ve done with drones so far," UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability Mark Wallace says.
"It has implications for future deliveries, especially in rural locations where our package cars often have to travel miles to make a single delivery.
"Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road.
"Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly miles driven.
"This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time."
Wallace explains his company is not doing away with drivers.
"Drivers are the face of our company, and that won’t change," he says.
"What’s exciting is the potential for drones to aid drivers at various points along their routes, helping them save time and deliver on increasing customer service needs that stem from the growth of e-commerce."
The firms explain that drone project used the Workhorse HorseFly UAV Delivery system, a high-efficiency, octocopter delivery drone fully integrated with Workhorse’s line of electric/hybrid delivery trucks.
The drone docks on the roof of the delivery truck.
A cage suspended beneath the drone, extends through a hatch into the truck.
A UPS driver inside loads a package into the cage and presses a button on a touch screen, sending the drone on a preset autonomous route to an address.
The battery-powered HorseFly drone recharges while it’s docked. It has a 30-minute flight time and can carry a package weighing up to 10 pounds.
For this test, Workhorse preset the route for the drone. But in the future, routes could be determined by UPS’s On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION), which is the company’s proprietary routing software.
"It’s wonderful to see this technology applied in such a practical way," Workhorse founder and CEO Stephen Burns says.
"The drone is fully autonomous. It doesn’t require a pilot. So the delivery driver is free to make other deliveries while the drone is away."
Daimler Trucks Chief refuses contract extension
Daimler Trucks Chief, Wolfgang Bernhard, has indicated that he does not want his contract extended.
Bernhard informed the Supervisory Board on Friday that he would not stay on if offered an extension, according to German magazine, Der Spiegel.
Daimler has since confirmed the development, releasing Bernhard from his duties with immediate effect. Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, will head Bernhard's department until a successor will be appointed.
"We regret this resolution, but we have a number of outstanding managers to succeed. We thank Wolfgang Bernhard for his committed work and respect his personal decision," the company stated.
Last week, newswire Reuters had speculated that the extension of Zetsche’s contract last year is behind the decision, as it effectively ruled out 56-year old Bernhard as a potential successor.
“In February last year, Daimler also promoted Ola Kaellenius, a 46-year-old Swede, to become board member for research and development, a move that company insiders say made him a natural heir to Zetsche,” Reuters explained.
Bernhard's contract was due to expire in February 2018.
Collecting Recycling Waste
Most of the work handled by the Bettatrans fleet from Adelaide involves collecting recycling waste from Coles and Woolworths locations and bringing it into transfer stations. This work is handled by compactors and hook lift trucks, depending on the equipment at each location. The entire fleet comprises just seven compactors, five hooklifts, a front lifter and the semi trailer. All of the trucks in the fleet are running at 6×2, apart from one 8×4.
90 per cent of all of the waste handled by Bettatrans is recycling, with the rest being general waste. The materials recycled include timber, cardboard and plastic. There is also some steel recycling handled by the operation, in a contract with OneSteel.
“We have to be covered by contracts, when you look at the millions of dollars investment we have to make to do the job,” says Chris Cunningham, Director of Bettatrans . “Our whole fleet is now looking good, I think the oldest truck is now three years old. The modern fleet gives a good impression and aids the contractor in keeping the long term contracts with the community.
“This is the first Azmeb trailer in South Australia. We flew up to Queensland to have a look at the trailer. We had looked at walking floors, normal tippers, everything, but this just smashed the lot. The great thing is, it’s so simple, there is very little maintenance on it. There’s just a little bit of greasing and the rubber hinge at the bottom of the door plus a couple of rams.
“Systems like walking floors have to be rebuilt all of the time and takes 40 minutes to unload. I am still amazed, looking at these national companies using walking floors everywhere, and this technology just kills them. We’ve just got one down here , but I have found the Azmeb outfit staggering, that they have been around for 21 years. We found it on Google and went from there. Even the guys at Maxitrans here were surprised to get an enquiry.”
Bettatrans employ 26 people, mainly drivers with other support staff. Several work on one of the last garbage trucks to have a runner on the back, where the team travel around with the truck and load the garbage by hand at night in areas where skips and bins are impractical.
The tipper semi is a new departure for Bettatrans and an area in which the operation expects to expand. The prime mover is a 4×2, the relatively light recycling material cubes out well before the single drive is overloaded. The tare mass of the truck and trailer is around 20 tonnes, giving the truck a GCM of 32 tonnes out on the highway.
Its a UD Quon and it’s fitted with the 11 litre UD GH11 engine and uses the Escot 12 speed AMT, both of which are derived from elements in the Volvo driveline. Most of the other vehicles in the fleet have been sourced from UD.
“The UD Quon is amazing,” says Cunningham. “The fuel efficiency is almost as good as on the UD Condors we have in the fleet.”
Compactors are the core part of the fleet, Bettatrans change over the cab chassis at 4-500,000 km. This is due to the stress powering the compactor puts on the truck, the hydraulics run directly off the truck driveline. The compactor bodies are expected to last long enough to be fitted to two cab chassis. According to Cunningham, he expects the side tipping trailer to last at least twenty years.
Bettatrans are looking to expand and take their successful business model outside of the Adelaide area. Perth looks to be one area where expansion is possible. The company are also examining the prospects in other centres
“People tell me, if you can make things work in Adelaide, you can make them work anywhere,” says Cunningham. “There’s no density here, and a lot of players in the market. You’ve got to be really, really efficient to make it work. You have to cover a big metropolitan area, where there is no density in the middle of town. Everything in the waste industry is about density and pick up rates.”
“The entire fleet is linked into the Vtec telematics system to keep an eye on what’s going on and record journeys and specific parts of the runs,” says Cunningham. “We have just swapped over to a new management system called WasteEdge, so all of our run sheets are on iPads in the truck cabs.
“Where we load the big tipper, the shed has a camera on it and it’s connected to wifi. It looks onto the conveyor and into the truck. As the driver arrives and backs up, the iPad, automatically, hooks up to the camera. He can then watch it load on his iPad. He will move forward and back using the iPad to make sure it’s loaded evenly.
“When we first got the truck, we put a camera in the truck to watch the load, but it didn’t’t work. When loading, the dust made it impossible, we had to clean it every hour. That’s when we came with this other solution.”
Smart thinking and driving hard for efficiency are the name of the game in many transport businesses. It seems this principle is also working for Bettatrans, as the company seeks to expand both its experience and capabilities.
Buyers increasingly choosing IVECO models
RACING AHEAD: IVECO marketers say they are claiming more market share.
IVECO reckons it's done well in the Australian market through the past 12 months with its revitalised product range combined with increased management stability and growing professional Dealer Network.
This has reflected extremely positively in Australia and New Zealand, with IVECO achieving a combined full year volume growth of over 25 per cent in 2016.
IVECO New Zealand recorded its best sales performance on record, with a 45 per cent volume increase on 2015 full year results.
In Australia, IVECO achieved a 6 per cent full year volume increase, the brand's best sales performance since 2013.
IVECO Australia Marketing Manager Darren Swenson said the company was pleased with the result as it marked a turnaround for the brand and would help build a foundation for additional future growth.
"The last two to three years has seen considerable change at IVECO, a new management structure has been implemented, our manufacturing facility has undergone restructuring and there has been considerable time and effort devoted to better meeting the needs of our customers,” Mr Swenson said.
"Wholesale changes of this nature obviously take time to effect, so it's exciting to already be seeing some early benefits as an organisation as well as for our customers.”
Boasting one of the widest product ranges of any manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, from car-licence van and cab chassis through to road train-capable prime movers (Australia only) and an off-road range second to none, IVECO will continue with its new model releases and product upgrades into 2017.
Due for launch this year is the award-winning Euro6 Eurocargo, International Truck of the Year 2016, while Daily van, cab chassis and Daily 4x4 models would also benefit from upgrades along with selected Stralis variants to name just a few.
Exciting new products aside, Mr Swenson also nominated the brand's continued investment in its Dealer Network and promoting its aftersales products and services, as key priorities for 2017.
"The Dealer Network has grown markedly over the past 12 months and now encompasses over 60 outlets comprising of full line, light duty and parts and service outlets,” he said.
"This number will expand in 2017 with additional strategic appointments and the further evolution of existing outlets.
"Similarly, through our successful 'Trusted' messaging, we'll further promote the brand's aftersales offerings in an effort to increase buyer awareness of Dealer servicing and our range of extended warranties, program maintenance contracts and related products.
"A big thank you to all the buyers who supported IVECO in 2016 - rest assured that the company is focused on continuing to meet their transport requirements well into the future.”
Shiny New Trucks
Diesel News took a trip up to Cairns the day after the new Mercedes Benz Actros models had been unveiled to a large audience of 260 potential buyers, against a dramatic background of burning cane fields with shiny new trucks emerging from the sugar cane to a musical fanfare.
This was a first chance to look at the new trucks as they would appear in truck showrooms. The evaluation models driven in a couple of tests, reported earlier in Diesel News, had matt black wraps to disguise the trucks’ true shape and lessen the overall effect of the all new cabin design.
The opportunity to drive the new trucks confirms the impressions gained in earlier trials. The new engines have transformed the feel of an Actros from the driver’s point of view. Where the response from the V6 and V8 engines of the past could feel ponderous, the direct response to the right foot from the new engine represents a dramatic change.
Couple this with a smarter AMT, the third generation 12 speed Powershift, and the driving experience is much improved. The torque available from the new engine makes the choice of shift points less critical and enables more flexible gear changing strategies to be employed by the system. It can be a bit unnerving, when driving a fully loaded semi through a small town in North Queensland, to see the AMT stay in 12th gear and let the revs die down to around 800 rpm to hold 60 km/h through the town.
All of the electronic controls and safety systems have become more integrated into the driving style needed to get the best out of the new trucks. It is possible to keep all of the control for the driver, but activating active cruise control does take a lot of stress out of driving.
The roads of North Queensland are not the best, far from it, but the ride in the new trucks smooths it out as much as possible. In the biggest cabin option, with its flat floor and four step climb to the driver’s seat, there is none of the slop and sway which could be felt in earlier Actros models of over ten years ago.
It has been said before and will, no doubt be said again, the Mercedes Benz brand has under-performed in the Australian truck market over a long period since the 1418 Benz had its heyday. With these new models the German truck maker has its best opportunity for many years to show us just what it’s made of.
‘Doors rear’ or ‘doors front’? New Melbourne terminal makes life hard for truckies
Container transport operators have been working closely with Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) ahead of the arrival of the first laden ship to be stevedored at the new automated container terminal in Webb Dock, Melbourne.
“E.R. Long Beach” operating for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) on the Australia Express service to/from Asia, the Middle East and Europe, is due to berth at VICT on 26th February.
At 300 metres in length, with a width of 42m and a container capacity of 7,455 TEU, E.R. Long Beach presents challenges in accessing Swanson Dock due to her size. Hence, MSC is taking advantage of VICT’s ability to handle larger container ships without the need for the Yarra River passage.
“Export container receivals for the vessel commence in earnest from Monday, 20th February. This has necessitated container transport operators registering with VICT through 1-Stop to use the Vehicle Booking System (VBS), and drivers completing their on-line MSIC inductions (again through 1-Stop) before they can access the Terminal,” commented CTAA director Neil Chambers.
Road transport interface issues
The announcement that VICT was to welcome its first laden container vessel added emphasis to the discussions between CTAA Alliance companies and VICT on outstanding transport interface issues.
“We’ve got some major issues we are still working through collaboratively with senior management at VICT, ones that impact on truck servicing and productivity,” Mr Chambers noted.
“Key among these issues is the instruction from VICT that all containers be delivered ‘doors rear’. This accommodates the operation of the Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC) and the presentation of containers through the automated system to the ship’s side for loading ‘doors rear’. Similarly, import containers will be loaded onto trucks ‘doors rear’.
“Unfortunately though, this has major implications for road transport operators being compliant with heavy vehicle axle weight restrictions. In addition, it impacts on exporter and importer instructions where the container doors may need to be orientated differently, particularly when side-loaders are used.”
“In other Australian container terminals employing similar Stacking Crane technology (i.e. DP World, Port of Brisbane), the stevedore provides a service to turn boxes, with an associated fee. We want VICT to do the same.”
To assist in understanding the scale of the issue, CTAA is conducting a survey of Melbourne container transport operators to gauge the frequency of containers being delivered and picked up from stevedore terminals ‘doors front’.
“It’s a major issue, particularly for our heavy agricultural exports. We need to find a solution that doesn’t reduce landside productivity and efficiency, or drives up costs unduly,” Mr Chambers said.
Other issues being addressed include several fees to be imposed by VICT, and the management of container weight and truck weight information.
VICT will weigh all export containers, and will compare the declared weight against the actual weight recorded. Where the declared container verified gross mass (VGM) varies by more than 500kg, VICT will update the gross mass information used for ship loading.
“VICT planned to impose a charge of $130.00 on the container transport operator for the VGM update administration. In our view, however, the pre-receival advice (PRA) declarant should be charged this fee, as they are responsible by law to declare the VGM,” Mr Chambers said.
“Also, we are encouraging VICT to pass on mis-declared weights information to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for enforcement action.
“To its credit, VICT has agreed to suspend the VGM Update Fee whilst investigations continue as to how best to impose the fee on the parties responsible in the supply chain for the accurate declaration of export container gross mass,” Mr Chambers said.
“We are also working through the issue of the practical use of the truck weigh-in-motion devices that will provide axle group and overall vehicle weights to the driver as they depart the terminal.”
“We are assisting VICT to organise a discussion with VicRoads and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) about meeting their “loading manager” obligations under the Chain of Responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
“Given the considerable variables in axle and gross loading limits depending on vehicle combination, mass accreditation and permits, the heavy vehicle driver has the direct responsibility to ensure that they do not carry the load on a public road unless they are within the weight limits allowed. The weigh-in-motion read-out will provide accurate information to the driver. If containers need to be removed, the terminal is clearly entitled to charge for that additional service.” Neil Chambers said.
“The 1-Stop vehicle booking system (VBS) will also work differently at VICT than it does at the two incumbent stevedores in Melbourne. This may take some getting used to, and fleet controllers will need to become familiar with the differences.
“The good thing is that the ‘mad minute’ created by the daily time slot-drop orchestrated by the other stevedores is removed. However, for imports, you can only book a slot once the container is discharged and its yard position is known. The way transport companies schedule their fleet operations will need to adapt accordingly.
“With goodwill and continued communications, we are confident that we will be able to work with VICT collaboratively to smooth the land transport / terminal interface as operations at the new automated facility at Webb Dock get underway in earnest,” Mr Chambers said.
Just Desserts with Scotty Douglas
Scotty weighs in on the sort of rubbish we cop from people who have no idea. "Trucks should be limited to 90"..... yeah righto
I’m constantly amazed at how often people use the word "just" when referring to their job. Maybe it’s a blue-collar thing; maybe it’s that Aussie not-wanting-to-blow-your-own-trumpet thing. But, I’ve never heard anyone say, "I’m just a CEO." Except maybe if they’re in court that is.
But I’ve heard plenty of people say I’m "just" a cleaner, or I’m "just" a mechanic, or even more concerning "I’m just a teacher."
And I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard the phrase "I’m just a truck driver."
It’s like we’re kind of embarrassed to admit it. Like the dog catching you with your willy out, you end up inexplicably embarrassed and self-conscious, even though you know it shouldn’t matter.
When did we get to the point where unless we have a high-flying corporate gig we feel we have to apologise for what we do?
The most memorable self-deprecating job description I’ve come across was from a bloke who worked for an artificial insemination company. At a Barbie one day I asked him what he did for a living, he replied deadpan around a mouthful of sausage and bread, "I wank bulls."
But it’s probably a good thing that I don’t get out very much. Because when I mix with the general public I tend to get easily riled by the assumptions that people make about being a truck driver.
"Really? Wow, how do you stay awake on those really long drives??" This is code for "Do you take lots of drugs?" Little do they know that the real answer is that I actually sing along to Madonna’s Greatest Hits at the top of my lungs with both windows down. Sometimes I’m naked.
But the one that really makes me lose my shit is, "So I thought trucks weren’t meant to speed, do you speed?" and "I get passed by speeding trucks all the time on the freeway."
This is the time to take a deep breath and embark on a futile explanation that usually guarantees that the listener will lose interest after 5 seconds. The vast majority of trucks on our highways aren’t speeding anymore. Trouble is cars have gotten slower. The wholesale revenue grab that is the speed camera industry has made sure that automotive manufacturers ensure that the speedos on their products read fast, in fact it’s a legal requirement.
Trucks are speed limited via the ECU. There’s actually an Australian Design Rule that describes this and it involves the amount of revolutions a standard 11R 225 truck drive tyre does in a kilometre. Asleep yet? Most people usually are by this point which is probably why no one gives a shit.
It is very f**king difficult to persuade some people that the speedo on their new Camry is reading as much as 6 km/h out. Again nobody gives a shit.
And then we end up with that old chestnut, "trucks should be speed limited to 90." Well you can blow that idea out your arse because I’m not taking a pay cut for anybody.
If the company you drive for chooses to mandate a 90km/h limit and you are properly paid for the extra time that you job takes then fine, more power to ya.
But to get all warm and fuzzy about saving fuel and being an eco-emissions warrior while your drivers have to spend longer in the saddle. That’s just wrong. Pass on the savings and maybe I’ll wear it otherwise it’s just a cynical money grab wearing a clown suit as far as I’m concerned.
And then there’s the safety argument for f**k’s sake! What’s safe about driver’s driving for longer to get to their destination?
I even had one bloke (not a driver) tell me that that he was only alive because a well-known local company had a widely advertised 90km/h speed limit. This conversation did not end well, and yes beer may have been involved in this exchange. Apparently he was driving down a country highway and was confronted by 2 trucks heading towards him side by side. The one being overtaken was doing 90, the other I’m assuming was doing a dollar. Apparently if the driver of the truck doing 90 hadn’t hit the skids and let old mate around the person telling this tale wouldn’t be here today.
As glad as I was to see this person had survived this brush with death and was saved by this slow moving truck. The fact remains that if the 90 speed limited truck had’ve been doing a dollar the other truck wouldn’t have been on the other side of the road in the first place!
On country highways people will break their necks to get past slow moving traffic. The more frustrated they become the more reckless their overtaking maneuvers.
And then I find myself driving a Toyota Yaris down a metropolitan freeway today, it’s not something I’m proud of but it’s cheap transport okay? And lo and behold I’ve got a Freightliner Argosy sitting so far up my arse that the driver could clean my teeth. In fact if I had of so much as turned the AC on in the little eco-turd I was driving I would’ve been splattered over a kilometre of the Monash Freeway.
But before you ask, yes I was in heavy traffic and no I wasn’t in the fast lane doing 90.
And it occurred to me that this is what most people remember about trucks. Not the hay run for struggling farmers, or the just in time delivery of their new TV from another capital city.
Most people just remember the looming bull-bar in the mirror on their annual Christmas holiday trip. Sure there’s a damning lack of education about sharing the road with trucks, but really most people don’t care unless the rear axle group of a tag trailer is climbing over their bonnet at a roundabout.
Unfortunately it always falls to us to drive for everyone else on the road.
There are a lot of unjust justs out there, but maybe If we keep thinking of ourselves as "just" drivers then we can’t really expect to be treated much different.
Western roads closed following plane crash in Melbourne
Tullamarine and Calder Freeways have been temporarily closed following the crash this morning
A plane crashed into DFO, Essendon Fields, earlier today killing the five people on-board and causing road chaos.
According to reports, the crash was likely caused by catastrophic engine failure.
VicRoads closed the Tullamarine Freeway in both directions between Moreland Road and the Western Ring Road following the crash.
The Calder Freeway was also shut temporarily in both directions between McNamara Avenue in Airport West and the Tullamarine Freeway interchange.
Bulla Road has also been closed near Essendon Airport.
Victoria’s emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley spoke to media a short time ago, outlining that the outbound lanes are now open.
"The outbound lanes are now open, however the inbound lanes will stay closed for a number of hours, until that can be cleared and understood to collect evidence for the investigation, but also clear it from any impacts that it may have had," Lapsley says.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has called this the worst civil aviation acccident in Victoria in 30 years.
The Essendon Airport is a major freight hub in and out of King Island and Tasmania.
Truck fleets under pressure to adapt to autonomous technology
Autonomous truck technology is likely to follow a similar path to acceptance as smartphones, according US traffic safety expert, Dr James Hedlund.
In an interview with Heavy Duty Trucking, Dr Hedlund said we could “start to see early adaptors start to work with autonomous vehicles … within the next five years” – with legislation the biggest hurdle to overcome.
“The technology is moving very quickly – much faster than the regulatory and legislative efforts – and we need to be really flexible on this front. We don’t need to be taking five years to pass laws based on concepts and technology that was cutting edge 10 years ago,” he said.
According to Dr Hedlund, truck fleets are under great pressure to move materials quickly and efficiently – forcing them to be more open to technological change.
“Autonomous technology can help them do that in a somewhat more controlled manner. Also, in an industry plagued with liability issues, autonomous technology can help them run safer.”
Dr Hedlund, a consultant working with the US Governors' Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a not-for-profit body representing the US state and territorial highway safety offices, has published over 60 research studies, conference summaries, research syntheses, and guides on a variety of behavioural traffic safety subjects over a 30-year-career in the industry.
Be a part of Australia’s biggest truck survey
Australia’s trucking industry can now have its say on all matters related to the commercial road transport market by answering the first-ever customer perception survey.
Conducted by Prime Creative Media and apd Australia, the country’s leading truck industry research and consulting firm, the survey will give respondents a voice with the truck industry brands in the Australian market.
As part of completing Australia’s first-ever customer truck industry survey, respondents will have the opportunity to secure an amazing prize, including one of 50 x 12 month subscriptions to Prime Creative Media’s four leading industry publications - Prime Mover, Trailer, CRTNews and Diesel Magazine, and also go into the draw for one of two $500 J.B. Hi Fi vouchers, redeemable at any J.B. Hi Fi store or online.
Driving New Cascadia
Diesel News’ US Correspondent, Steve Sturgess, driving New Cascadia from Freightliner in the US, took the truck on a 125-mile route heading out into the Mojave Desert to the south of Las Vegas, then looping back around to join the main artery into Las Vegas from the south (Interstate-15). This loop encountered Interstate and two-lane driving and a significant climb over the mountains at Crescent Peak. The Cascadia is scheduled for introduction into the Australian market, in the next couple of years.
This requires a stiff pull up from the desert floor at around 2,000 ft (600 m) to close to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and a long and relatively steep downgrade which was a good test for the three-position engine brake on the 400-hp/1,750-lb-ft (300 kW/2,372 Nm) DD 15 engine.
The fuel economy was not rigorously tested but we did take readings from the dash which showed a remarkable 9.6 mpg (24.5 l/100km) at the turn in Searchlight. This had deteriorated to 7.2 mpg (32.7 l/100km) when we did a driver change after scaling the mountain, still very creditable. We did a driver change with the second truck going from a 6 x 2 to a 6 x 4 yet despite this managed to roll back into the Resort hotel with a 10.2 mpg (23 l/100 km) on the dash.
Most impressive is the low noise level at cruising speeds of 65 mph (105 km/h). At full bore, the noise rises only about 2db(A) on my test meter to a 62 db(A) reading. The new door seal and quiet package really do the job. Also the softer ride for the front suspension contributes to the comfortable driver environment.
The really cool thing about the revised control layout with the controls on the steering wheel and the adaptive cruise control, it’s possible to drive without using other hand or foot-operated controls, maybe with exception of the retarder. But even this is located on the manual override shift on the steering column. Being able to dial in the three levels of retardation made negotiating the steep downgrade from Crescent Peak a safe, fade-free experience despite being at the States’ rather silly 36-tonne gross combination weight.
The two interior trim levels , Elite and Professional, provide driver-friendly comfort with either easy clean-out or car-like levels of luxury accommodation. The automated DT 12 transmission makes progress down the road both easy and safe, allowing you to concentrate on the size of the truck and its position on the road without the complication of shift decisions and the practice of shifting.
The removal of the windshield splitter and the side-glass channel may seem trivial, but on the road count for much improved visibility. And the repositioning of the new mirrors also gives a comprehensive view to the rear, complemented by available bonnet-mounted safety mirrors.
The new Cascadia features a new layout of gauges and switches in the driver compartment to a more convenient configuration in the sleeper area, including a new Driver’s Loft configuration.
The wraparound dashboard includes switches and more steering wheel controls to allow drivers to work without leaning and stretching. In the instrument cluster, digital smart gauges and driver selectable information displays keep drivers involved as they drive.
Improving on the Classic Cascadia Evolution, one of the quietest trucks on the road in the US, the new Cascadia is even quieter, thanks to new noise abatement technology in door sealing and sound deadening materials. To further improve the truck’s interior sound level, Freightliner engineers have developed an optional insulation package using 3M Thinsulate technology.
Additionally, a new engine mount design provides better vibration isolation and the engine tunnel cover is now constructed using Quiet Steel technology.
Available in a variety of cab configurations, the new Cascadia is all about customisable living-space options to address the realities of drivers while they’re on the road. The sleeper area has been redesigned to include more cabinets, as well as larger spaces to accommodate standard appliances.
For entertainment, a television swivel bracket can hold up to a 26-inch flat panel TV. Double-bunk and dinette options are also available. A new cargo shelf option allows drivers to store containers or duffle bags easily. If an upper bunk is spec’d, it will come standard with an easily released telescoping ladder, making getting into the upper bunk much easier than the step built into the cabinets.
A new sleeper design, the Driver‘s Loft, features a dinette table/work table and opposing seating set at an angle so that legs won’t tangle under the table. Table and cushions can easily be folded down flat to allow for a murphy-style bed to swing down in as little as six seconds in the launch demonstration. The Driver’s Loft also comes standard with aircraft-inspired LED ambient lighting on a dimmer switch so drivers can set their own light levels.
Cascadia’s all-LED lighting includes the low beam, high beam, daytime running lamp, park lamp and turn signal lamp. All LED provides an impressive field of view in nighttime and bad weather conditions, says Freightliner.
The one-piece windshield design increases wiper coverage by 12 per cent over the current Cascadia, and is specially constructed to provide increased resistance to breakage. Both the one-piece windshield and one-piece door glass provide an unobstructed view to the mirror and road.
What is the most significant feature of the new Cascadia? My response was, who are you asking? Maintenance staff will respond to one feature; drivers to another. New owners will like the operational opportunities from the new connectivity. And everyone will love the eight per cent jump in fuel economy. The real success of the new model is not the new, sharper styling but all the fleet-wide deliverables under that sharper look.