Operation Austrans improves heavy vehicle safety on NSW roads

Date: Jun 02, 2015

A Joint Traffic Taskforce designed to reduce car accident injuries and deaths caused by heavy vehicles issued defect notices to 10 trucks on Friday (May 29).

Officers in the unit – which was composed of Roads and Maritime Services inspectors and NSW Police Force Traffic and Highway Patrol Command personnel – checked 89 trucks and trailers across the state.

The inspections were part of Operation Austrans, with NSW joining a national campaign to improve compliance and load restraint on heavy vehicles.

The officers assessed trucks at a cold storage and distribution centre in western Sydney.

There were nine minor defects detected across the 89 vehicles, as well as one major fault. According to NSW Police, 36 issues were discovered in total, including problems with oil and fuel leaks, steering, wheels, tyres and suspension.

Thirty-three drivers were given drug and breath tests and all passed. NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, claimed the results showed companies are placing more importance on compliance.

“Given the importance and the frequency of cold storage and distribution, which goes all throughout NSW, correct load management is critical on our roads,” he stated.

“The challenge for industry is making sure those trucks and drivers that either drop off or collect goods are compliant and able to carry out that task.”

Vehicle accidents still a problem

Despite the positive results, NSW Police reinforced the need for conducting initiatives such as Operation Austrans. On Thursday, a 36-year-old female truck operator was intercepted and found to be driving under the influence of drugs with associated paraphernalia in the vehicle.

She also committed a critical fatigue offence and was not carrying a work diary. Assistant Commissioner Hartley said proactive schemes are necessary to prevent such incidents occurring.

“We will continue to work with the Roads and Maritime Services, and interstate police and road agencies, in ensuring the industry operates safely in NSW, and across Australia,” he added.

Assistant Commissioner Hartley added that a recent spate of heavy-vehicle accidents and the resulting court outcomes should encourage drivers and businesses to improve their safety processes.

Crashes involving trucks, cars and other road users can lead to compensation for anyone who sustains an injury in the incident. This includes cyclists and pedestrians who are struck.

Peter Wells, Roads and Maritime Services director of safety and compliance, said his organisation is working with executives across the supply chain to ensure heavy vehicles are operated with safety as a priority.

“Fatigued drivers, speeding and drug use must be eliminated to minimise the risks to other road users,” he stated.

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