Pilbara Jillaroo stands up for truckies

SPEAKING OUT: Jessica Edwards, who drives this prime mover in the Pilbara, is fed up with careless motorists on the road.
SPEAKING OUT: Jessica Edwards, who drives this prime mover in the Pilbara, is fed up with careless motorists on the road. Jillaroo Jess

PILBARA station hand and truck driver Jessica Edwards is fed up.

The hard-working young woman said she has encountered far too many close calls on the road from careless drivers who are putting her life, and the lives of the cattle she is carting, at risk.

Never afraid to speak her mind, she released a short video to her Facebook page, Jillaroo Jess, highlighting some of the common misconceptions about truck drivers.

While she thought only her followers would take note of the clip, the video struck a chord with a wider audience and has gone viral, being viewed more than 800,000 times online.  

"I think the truckies and their families were enjoying seeing someone standing up for them and their safety," she said.

"In Australia there are a lot of road safety campaigns for drink driving and driving tired, but not so many for dealing with trucks.

"There has been such a trucks versus cars mentality for such a long time, which has been really fuelled by the media lately."

Using a bit of humour, Jess explained that truck drivers and motorist are actually the same.

"This isn't just a big truck, there is actually someone in here. There is someone who is flesh and blood like you, who has friends and family who love them and who wants to get home safely - we are just like you," she explained in the video.

Jess also highlighted the huge bull bar, which stands taller than her 178cm height in the 'truck tour'.

She described it as a "bloody big bulbar".

"If you lose to that, then I lose too because I will have to live with knowing that I was involved in killing someone, I don't want to have to deal with that."

Jess created the short clip after she had a close call behind the wheel.


Jillaroo Jess with 'Brittany' the poddy calf.
Jillaroo Jess with 'Brittany' the poddy calf. Jillaroo Jess

"I was headed to the neighbouring station to pick up some cattle, when a vehicle overtook me on my left while I was turning left," she said.

"I was only going slow at the time as it was a sharp turn so luckily didn't have to stomp the brakes too hard.

"I only just managed to avoid clipping the four-wheel drive."

Jess said she predicts that the careless driver knew they had made a silly mistake overtaking a turning vehicle.

"And if they didn't realise my air horn would've woken them up," she said.

Sadly, close calls like this happen all too often.

It's a situation that fills Jess with "utter terror".

"It's a horrible feeling when you think you or someone else is about to be killed," she said.

"It's frustrating that people can be so desensitised that they put themselves and me, and my cattle if I'm loaded, in danger."

Jess would like to see a more education on sharing the roads with trucks.

"I can't actually recall any education on dealing with trucks when I was in driver training," she said.

"I was genuinely surprised to find out that a lot of people don't actually know what the 'Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle' sign means on the back of the truck and why doing so is dangerous.

"This is obviously something that needs to be addressed as it can be a deadly mistake."

Topics:  rural woman

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