Why did you become a truck driver and how long have you been driving for?
Due to family reasons, at 15 I left school to help support my family. I started work for a company that did runs between Brisbane and Mount Isa and they sold out before I could get a license, but got me a job with the buyer and that led into initially office work, but then into loading trucks, driving forklifts, and then trucks. I went for my license at 17 in a semi-trailer and have been involved in the industry in some aspect for over 45 years now, driving full time since 1993.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have devoted a lot of my career advocating for safety within the road transport industry and I’ve made it my hobby as well as my job. I gain personal satisfaction from trying to make a difference and working out how I can improve something, and who I can get to help me do it.
What is the most significant positive change you have seen across the industry since you’ve started driving?
Trucks are definitely better, and some of the roads are better. Technology in the trucks has helped, but we should always remember technology is a driver aid, not a replacement. Technology doesn’t remove our roles and responsibilities as drivers.
What makes you happy inside your truck?
When I drive past a green reflector bay or when I drive past a bit of road that I’ve had fixed. It’s always nice to get a phone call from someone who is appreciative of the work I do in the industry and have someone listen to my recommendations. If I save one life, all the hard work is worth it.
I also love listening to audiobooks and doing a weekly review on Facebook on books I recommend.
What makes you happy outside of your truck?
I do 280 nights away a year and this job is so hard on families, so when I come home my family is my escape. Being away from my family is difficult for them (and me) and getting to go home to them is what makes me happy. Drivers miss so much family time, we miss out on the normal community, because we’re away so often. It’s important to connect with people whenever possible.
What’s the most important thing you do that improves your wellbeing on the road?
Road safety is my passion and helps me stay happy and healthy on the road. I write for industry press, do a weekly spot on Triple M’s ‘Night Shift’, and do media spots wherever I can to talk about what’s important to me in the industry.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not driving your truck?
My hobby, road safety, is one of my favourite things to do. I also love spending time with my family, meeting different people, and talking to other drivers. Audiobooks are also a favourite thing of mine and I get through three books a week.
Health in Gear is about drivers using short, practical tips to improve their wellness. What are you going to try out first?
I use reading as my sleep trigger with the different hours I work and have recommended that to others. Sleep, exercise and nutrition would be my first interests.
You can learn more about Rod by following his blog Truck Right.