CAN's Share the Road Campaign is about raising awareness and empathy between cyclists and the drivers of large trucks and buses. To learn more, Campaign Manager spent a day in a Southland Logging truck on the 19th Oct.
It was a large "H for High Productivity" vehicle (50 tons loaded up). The trips involved delivering a load of logs to the Port at Bluff, picking up a load from a forest to the west of Invercargill and delivering it to a saw mill in Invercargill. It was an eye-opening day.
Drivers face the relentless pressure of ensuring the safety of other road users in a vehicle that typically entirely fills the traffic lane it is operating in. Working against this is the relentless routine of the job. Every aspect is critical, i.e. checking the truck at the beginning of the day, ensuring it is loaded safely, tying the load down correctly, negotiating poor roading infrastructure in forests and finally dealing with the dangerous behaviour of other road users when passing, stopping suddenly and pulling out of intersections.This was highlighted in a recent Seven Sharp item http://bcove.me/x5kg4tdd Working against drivers are the hours, the inability to access healthy food (unless they are organised enough to bring it) and toilets, due to High Productivity vehicles only being allowed on certain roads. The driver’s day starts at 4:00am. There are a lot of people who work shifts and operate dangerous machinery, but fewer who can so easily cause the death of others if a crash happens.