QLD grants powers to remove stricken trucks from road

QLD police to be granted powers to remove trucks and freight from road without permission when accidents occur

The Queensland Government will introduce a measure allowing police officers to bulldoze heavy vehicle freight from the road in the case of an accident.

The Open Roads Bill is designed to reduce urban congestion in and around Brisbane, and Premier Anna Bligh says forcefully removing overturned or broken down trucks from the road is critical to keeping traffic moving.

The Government will overturn the provision currently requiring police officers to speak to the owner of the freight to determine how best to remove it from the road.

According to Bligh, this measure needs to be scrapped because it hampers efforts to reduce congestion following an accident.

"Under current law if a truck rolls over on the Gateway and spills it's cargo police must first get permission from the cargo owner before they move the goods off the road," Bligh says.

"That can take hours and mean traffic jams that could be avoided if the cargo could simply be moved to the side of the road."

However, in a sign the Government is concerned its move may impact on operators’ insurance premiums, Bligh says the Government will consult with insurance agencies and industry groups before drafting legislation.

The Government will commission two heavy duty tow trucks to remove heavy vehicles and their freight, adding to the one tow truck which has been operating since December 2007.

One tow truck will service greater Brisbane while the other will be based near the Ipswich Motorway interchange.

Police squads will also patrol roads in peak times, including the Bruce Highway and the Pacific, Logan, Ipswich and Gateway motorways.

"For the first time these dedicated patrols will operate on our road systems at morning and evening peak times," Bligh says.

"This will ensure that experienced police officers are on the scene faster and can co-ordinate quicker clearance of vehicles."

The Government intends on introducing legislation by the end of the year.

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