Trucks restricted; new fines introduced

Trucks in Victoria to be restricted under government plan to improve safety and better road sharing

By Samantha Freestone | March 3, 2010

Trucks over 4.5 tonnes in Victoria will be restricted from the right hand lane on multi-lane freeways in Victoria as part of a government plan to improve safety and encourage better road sharing.

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says the restrictions will be introduced in July this year on the Princes Freeway between the Western Ring Road interchange and Beach Road interchange at Lara.

Offenders face a $350 fine, with Pallas claiming the Government is reacting to community concerns.

"The Brumby Labor Government is listening to community concerns about road sharing and taking action to introduce lane restrictions for trucks to help create a safer and more efficient driving environment," he says.

"Restricting trucks from the right-hand lane on freeways with three or more lanes of traffic in each direction is aimed squarely at making some of the busiest roads in the state safer, while ensuring the needs of all drivers on these roads are met."

And Pallas has warned the industry the restriction will be rolled out on other freeways.

"The 38 kilometre stretch of the Princes Freeway is just the start, with lane restrictions for heavy vehicles also to be rolled out on the West Gate Freeway, west of Williamstown Road to the M80 Ring Road, the Eastern Freeway and EastLink," he says.

"Other roads, including CityLink, the M1 corridor and the M80 Ring Road, are being investigated as part of the lane restrictions plan."

A spokesperson for Pallas says there were extensive talks with industry groups such as the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to "make sure they understand the reasoning behind this".

VicRoads Transport Safety Services and Victoria Police will monitor and enforce the new restriction.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Key Lay has welcomed the announcement.

"We know many drivers have expressed frustrations over heavy vehicles in the right hand land, but having said that there is an expectation that all drivers show common courtesy to each other on the road," he says.

Pallas points to an RACV survey to justify the Government's actions, saying 83 percent of motorists believe trucks should be restricted where there are three or more lanes.

He says the Government recognises the importance of the freight industry and is committed to reducing incidents between private vehicles and trucks.

"Freight plays a vital role in the state’s economy, and trucks do have a place on our roads. However, we are also dedicated to improving safety and amenity and minimising the negative impacts of freight transport," Pallas says.

Signs will be established advising drivers of the restrictions and an education campaign will be launched. Buses have been excluded from the lane restrictions.

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