Police and VTA meet to tackle truck safety

Transport industry representatives will meet with Victoria Police to target heavy vehicle crashes and chain of responsibility obligations

By Ruza Zivkusic | January 25, 2011

Twenty representatives from the transport industry are meeting with Victoria Police to target heavy vehicle crashes and chain of responsibility obligations.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe, together with the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), is meeting industry representatives on February 9 to discuss safety and heavy vehicle enforcement issues.

VTA CEO Philip Lovel says the initiative is good news for the industry as there were 58 people killed in heavy vehicle accidents last year. The figure is up by 23 fatalities from the year before.

Thirty-three people died in country Victoria and 25 in metropolitan Melbourne.

Five of the fatalities involved a heavy vehicle and a motorcycle and six of the fatalities occurred when a heavy vehicle hit pedestrians. Four of the fatalities involved bicyclists.

Walshe was appointed to the role of regional and road policing this year.

He initiated the meeting to seek the industry’s opinions on future policing activities affecting the road transport industry.

The VTA, which over the last year has worked with Superintendant David Newton on road policing, believes the number of road fatalities involving heavy vehicles needs to be reduced.

"Our record is not very good," Lovel says.

"The VTA is very good at building alliances with the authorities, it’s important that we meet with Walshe as we want the police to know what we are going to do about the increasing problems with heavy vehicles.

"We feel this is a positive approach and the police need to put their resources where they’re best used."

Newton has spoken to transport industry members about procedures and responsibility and has visited the Port of Melbourne and attended the VTA’s training sessions.

Regular meetings with Walshe will follow, Lovel believes.

"It’s not only the long distance trucks that are creating issues, it’s rigid vehicles in metropolitan areas in daylight hours where we’ve got lots of problems," Lovel says.

"We believe it will be very beneficial to put the industry’s views directly to one of the most senior and experienced enforcement people in Australia."

Chain of responsibility obligations, speed and driver fatigue will also be on the agenda, including difficulties experienced by heavy vehicle drivers and operators when they are unduly delayed at distribution centres and other loading and unloading points.

Representatives from Cootes Transport, FBT Transwest, Border Express and Freestone’s Transport are among the industry members invited to attend the meeting.

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