Authorities strike hard against Fred's and Damorange

Victorian trucking companies feel the wrath of NSW authorities, with 86 breaches and infringements dished out under Operation Discovery

Authorities strike hard against Fred's and Damorange
Authorities strike hard against Fred's and Damorange

March 29, 2012

Victorian trucking companies accused of flouting speed laws have felt the wrath of NSW authorities, with 86 breaches and infringements in total dished out as part of Operation Discovery.

NSW Police and officers from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) struck hard against Fred’s Interstate Transport and Damorange after trucks from both companies were allegedly caught speeding earlier this month in NSW.

Following raids on the premises of both firms this week, NSW Police says 22 trucks belonging to both companies have been grounded and subject to inspection for suspected speed-limiter tampering.

A further 64 infringements and breaches have been issued to truck drivers for a range of offences relating to fatigue laws, mechanical defects and load restraint.

NSW Police has not revealed how many of the 86 alleged breaches and infringements belong to each company, but operations commander Stuart Smith says he is satisfied with the result.

"The fact that we have identified and removed a large number of trucks that police will contend are dangerous from the state’s roads is very pleasing," he says.

"There is no place on NSW roads for illegally modified trucks and we will continue to work alongside RMS to track down and remove trucks that do not comply with the regulations we have in place."

Officers attached to Operation Discovery have also inspected 267 trucks from other companies. NSW Police says 99 offences in total were detected, including fatigue breaches and drug possession. Drivers were also caught breaching load restraint regulations and not producing a licence.

Three drivers tested positive to drug use and one other was charged with drug possession.

Furthermore, a 21-year-old truck driver will front a local court on April 18 on a number of charges after he was arrested during an incident on the F3 yesterday.

NSW Police alleges the Bowraville man was driving his B-double erratically in an attempt to bypass heavy vehicle checking stations at 12 Mile Creek and Mount White.

Authorities nabbed the driver about 12pm and defected his rig after examining it. The driver has been charged with driving in a dangerous manner, two counts of negligent driving, two counts of travelling too close to another vehicle and two work diary offences.

Meanwhile, the RMS claims it has received strong support from the industry since it began working with the NSW Police to target unsafe heavy vehicle practices.

RMS Director of Customer and Compliance Peter Wells says the feedback from heavy vehicle owners, operators and drivers show the industry is keen to weed our rogue operators.

"It’s encouraging when industry members contact RMS to let us know they are right behind the compliance operations," Wells says.

"RMS has always maintained the majority of the industry operates safely and follows the rules, which is reflected in the positive feedback about RMS and NSW Police efforts to identify the law breakers."

Wells adds that the department is also going higher up the chain to determine if others beyond truck drivers should be held accountable. This includes investigating owners, operators, mechanics, customers and receivers under chain of responsibility law.

"The law says every party involved in the road transport supply chain is obliged to do everything in their power to ensure the heavy vehicles involved in their business are compliant," he says.

"This means mechanics need to refuse to carry out illegal modifications, businesses receiving deliveries must not encourage speeding, working hours or fatigue breaches, truck owners must not require their drivers to break the law and no party can offer financial incentives which encourage non-compliance in any way."

Wells says anyone caught breaking chain of responsibility law or encouraging others to do so will be investigated and face serious criminal charges.

NSW Police and the RMS launched Operation Discovery after a Fred’s-owned truck was allegedly caught on March 23 travelling 130km/h near Albury.

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