Lights on the Hill truck memorial a timely safety reminder
MISSING Christmases, birthdays and other special occasions is all part and parcel of being a truck driver.
But without the work truck drivers do, Australia would grind to a halt.
Steven Manuel followed his father's footsteps into the transport industry and drives up to 6000kilometres in an average week on the roads, often through the wee hours of the morning.
He carried with him memories of his late father, as he rolled into Gatton on Saturday with more than 500 other vehicles for the 15th Lights on the Hill Memorial Convoy Weekend.
Drivers, their families and friends, converged on the town for a day of festivities before reflecting on those who had paved the path and those lost while working behind the wheel.
Another 35 names were added to the Lights on the Hill Truck and Coach Drivers Memorial at Lake Apex as a part of a memorial service yesterday.
It was Mr Manuel's first time driving in the convoy and he enjoyed the show of pride with other drivers.
The convoy travelled from both Withcott and Wacol to the Gatton Showgrounds on Saturday morning to a warm welcome from onlookers lining the roads.
"When I was a kid, Dad wasn't at home when I was growing up, and I think about the same thing with me not being home," Mr Manuel said.
"There are a lot of people that are here who are driving trucks that sacrifice time with their families.
"I drive interstate and some of the conditions are pretty poor. Showers and toilets, they're few and far between. We don't get looked after."
A study released by Monash University in Melbourne revealed truck drivers were 13 times more likely to die at work than other Australians.
Mr Manuel believed more education was needed for regular road users when it came to dealing with heavy vehicles.
The Ipswich resident spent yesterday with his family, including two young sons Lauchlan and Declan, and would hit the road on the public holiday today.
"It's another day I miss with the family," he said.