Truck generic, generic truck, truck photo
Truck generic, generic truck, truck photo Kirstin Payne

It's time to listen, says truckie's wife

IT IS one of the deadliest jobs in Australia and through marriage I am connected to it.

For the 12 months leading up to December 2017, 185 people died from 168 crashes involving trucks (including everything from heavy trucks to articulated trucks). What must be remembered though is that 80 per cent of those accidents were not the fault of the truck driver.

As frightening as these statistics initially appear for anyone using the road, the "trucking debate" is an entirely personal one for me. Every morning as my husband, and thousands like him across the country, climbs into his truck, I feel like I am on alert. Every time I hear a breaking news story about another truck accident, I am afraid to listen to the details.

In my husband's family the truck driving industry runs deep. His grandfather was a truck driver. His father was a truck driver. His cousins are truck drivers. I know only too well how truck drivers are, as a whole, a very proud "bunch". They are proud of the industry they have chosen to be involved in, they are proud of the vehicles they drive and proud of the fact that "without trucks, Australia stops".

But somewhere along the way, these truck drivers, our husbands, have become the centre of a debate, that isn't including them in the solution. Bureaucrats have turned this industry on its head and the only ones that seem to be suffering are the drivers and their families.

Last week's budget has done little to show me that the government is serious about tackling some of the basic problems that are facing our husbands on the road.

The government has seen fit to tell my husband when he must take a break, but so many rest areas do not include simple things like toilets, lighting or water. Imagine if these same members of the government went to their jobs every day and found their offices had none of these basic human rights. How do you expect my husband to do his job without access to this?

So maybe it is time that the people in power got their hands dirty. Jump in a truck and see what our men do. See what they really need. I don't want someone in a suit making life-changing decisions for my family when they don't really know what they are talking about. First-hand experience is what is needed to make these decisions.

I only ask one thing each day, that my husband comes home to me. Isn't it time that my request, and thousands of wives like me, were listened to?

Samantha Wantling
 

Big Rigs


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