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Bureaucrat bags culture amid release of Operation Steel results

Compliance levels increasing, police say, but senior Roads and Maritime Services bureaucrat says industry culture needs to change

August 30, 2012

A senior New South Wales transport bureaucrat says a cultural shift in the transport and logistics industry is necessary following the outcome of a recent operation aimed at heavy vehicles.

Roads and Maritime Services General Manager of Compliance and Enforcement Paul Endycott used the outcome of Operation Steel to blast sections of the transport industry over their approach to safety.

The final results of Operation Steel, which ran from 6am to 11.59pm on August 28 and targeted unsecured loads, speeding offences and vehicle standards, show 345 vehicles were intercepted and more than 160 infringement and defect notices were issued.

RMS investigators and NSW Police found one container truck with a load of unrestrained heavy steel rolls, while another container truck was busted for carting tonnes of steel ingots restrained with only fencing wire. Both vehicles were grounded.

“This kind of disregard for basic safety and minimum load restraint requirements when carrying heavy and potentially dangerous loads is totally unacceptable,” Endycott says.

“Intercepting these trucks before an incident was fortunate. All parties in the chain of responsibility must ensure loads are properly restrained inside containers. This is about the safety of all road users including truck drivers. We need to change the culture.”

Authorities also charged a 34-year-old truck driver after the drug Ice was found during a vehicle search.

A fleet of 12 trucks was grounded after one of the vehicles was found to be carrying a large steel cable which had been not been secured. NSW Police says one vehicle was grounded for 15 separate defects, while three trucks were found to be using non-compliant speed limiters.

Operation Steel was the latest in a series of joint operations run by NSW Police and the RMS this year. Police Superintendent Stuart Smith says both agencies will continue to work together to enforce regulation and compliance throughout the trucking industry.

“Compliance within the industry appears to be improving. However, the results of Operation Steel demonstrate that there are still too many non-compliant trucks out on the state’s roads,” Smith says.

Operation Steel was launched following investigations into two recent crashes involving trucks where the loads had shifted.

A semi-trailer rolled and lost its load of wood on June 28 at an intersection of the Cumberland and Hume highways. A motorist was crushed to death.

The second incident occurred on July 10 when a B-double carrying freight containers crashed. The containers fell off the back of the truck, causing vehicle damage and traffic disruptions.

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