Rocky bloke describes working in one of most dangerous jobs
ROCKHAMPTON truck driver JR Lang describes his Western Star prime mover as a weapon - one that must be handled with great care.
Having been in the transport industry for more than 10 years, JR has had plenty of close-calls on the road.
"It's not a daily occurrence, but it happens a lot," he said.
It therefore came as no surprise to him when trucking topped this year's list of Australia's Most Dangerous Jobs.
Research from lifeinsurancefinder.com.au found there were 65 transport and storage workers killed on the job in 2012, which was almost one-third (29%) of all workplace fatalities.
"It's a very, very testing job and it can be tiring, but I couldn't imagine doing anything else," JR said yesterday.
He said it was important for truck drivers to take care of themselves by getting enough sleep and avoiding junk food while on the road.
But he said often it was other motorists who put truck drivers and themselves at risk.
"You're not only driving your own vehicle, you're driving everyone else's too," he said.
"Just recently I was heading up to Duaringa... at the foot of the range there was a young woman coming in the opposite direction in a small car and she was about a metre over in my lane.
"I backed off as much as I could but she was still coming for me. Then in the very last second she looked up and swerved.
"She was literally moments away from death."
JR said since then he has installed a dash-cam into his vehicle.
He said a lot of people didn't understand just how difficult it is to manoeuvre a truck, especially when it weighs over 60 tonne.
"It would be great if there was an extra section in your driving test about trucks," he said.
"It's just physics; we can't stop like a normal vehicle."
JR urged everyone to be mindful of trucks.
"Everyone is too tied up in their own world," he said.
"Everything around you probably came off a truck and those guys on the other end put their blood, sweat and tears to get those commodities there.
"So next time you pull out in front of a truck or give a truckie the finger, just remember."
MOST DANGEROUS JOBS
1. Transport and storage
2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
5. Public/government administration, safety, and defence
7. Retail trade
8. Professional, scientific and technical services
9. Wholesale trade
10. Electricity, gas, water and waste services