Heavy vehicle operators remain in the safety spotlight after a police crackdown saw 5000 vehicles stopped, 2000 defect notices issued, and 26 drivers testing positive for drugs.
Police from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, ACT and South Australia targeted fatigue, speed, truck roadworthiness, and drug and alcohol testing in what was Australia’s “largest ever’ blitz on heavy vehicle operators.
The operation, dubbed “Rolling Thunder”, was in direct response to a two-day period, January 15 and 16, in which three unrelated heavy vehicle crashes in NSW saw five people lose their lives.
NSW Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said the number of defects and positive drug tests showed there was still too many dangerous trucks on Australian roads.
“To have more than two thousand defects issued in a single day within the heavy-vehicle industry, shows that there is a lot of work to be done to ensure trucks are safe on our roads.
“The fact that we also caught 26 drivers who tested positive for drugs is just a disgrace.”
However, not everyone was pleased with the targeted operation. The South Australian Road Transport Association, the most vocal of the opponents, labelled the operation a ‘typical knee-jerk PR stunt’ in a Facebook post, and said the focus should be on those drivers that didn’t test positive.
“98.6 percent were drug free. The general motoring community would never return a result as good as that and the police damned well know it but they don’t mention that trucking is almost drug-free and far more responsible than motorists.”
However, Mr Corboy said road safety was an ongoing priority and that police would continue to target heavy vehicle operators that don’t follow due processes.
“While the operation has concluded, our work has only just begun. We will be following up with companies, drivers and operators who think they are above the law and we won’t stop until we can be sure that all trucks on our roads are safe for all road users.”
Heavy Vehicle Chain of Responsibility
Heavy vehicle operators will also come under further scrutiny when new Chain of Responsibility Laws come into effect mid 2018. The Heavy Vehicle National Law is being amended to make it clear every party in the supply chain has a “duty” to ensure safe practices. Everyone, from driver to executive officer, will have an obligation to eliminate and minimise risks by doing everything reasonable to ensure transport activities are safe.
These amendments will affect the operations of businesses across the entire country – not just the transport sector. Any business that utilises freight logistics services needs to make sure they understand Chain of Responsibility.
To learn more about Chain of Responsibility, see our related article.