She campaigned against truckies; now she campaigns for them
A FORMER Ballina woman who campaigned against poor truck driver behaviour is now a truck driver herself and is campaigning against poor car driver behaviour.
Lyndal Denny is the founder and CEO of Women in Trucking in Australia, set up in January this year.
The group has released a series of three ads highlighting the “dire consequences” or poor decisions by car drivers.
Ms Denny features on one of the television advertisements, which features a confronting image of feet with a toe-tag indicating the person is deceased.
It was back in 2007 that Ms Denny began her campaign for governments to bring in laws about truck drivers tailgating.
Ms Denny that year pulled a truck driver over at St Helena Hill on the old Pacific Highway after the truckie tailgated her for some time, and she ripped shreds off him.
She called for a law that trucks had to stay 60m from other vehicles when travelling in the same direction.
Her message led to an appearance on A Current Affair and at national road safety forums, as well as lots of local media coverage.
But there was a turning point.
“The media started viewing me as a spokesperson against truck drivers,” she said.
“But the industry was telling me I didn’t have the right to do that as I didn’t have a truck licence, so I thought ‘I might get one of them’.”
She gained her Heavy Rigid licence in 2012, and followed that up a year later with a Heavy Combination (semi-trailer) licence then a Multiple Combination licence, allowing her to drive B-doubles and road-trains.
At the time, her office job with an employment agency was uncertain, so she used the contacts she had made in her campaigning to find work as a “frilly filly in a diesel environment” steering sem-trailers on the Pilbara in Western Australia at the height of the mining boom.
She was hauling road-trains within 12 months, and currently drives a three-trailer rig weighing in at about 140 tonnes fully loaded, based in South Australia.
While she admits there are still “dickhead” truck drivers on the road, “97 per cent of truck drivers are amazing”.
“And we’re heroes now,” she said, referring to the dependence on the transport industry to fill supermarket shelves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Denny said she was very happy to be viewing the world from a different kind of steering wheel.
“It’s so interesting on the road — the beautiful things you see, the wildlife, the people you meet,” she said.
And having to learn how to fix things has been a significant learning curve.
“I’m a much more confident, empowered female now because I can do so much more,” she said.
She said while the vehicles she drives are now larger and heavier than her car, her message was still about making the roads safer for all.
Women in Trucking Australia also aims to encourage and support more women into driving careers.