Gay to tighten law, notes Scott's truck breaches

ATA NSW welcomes harder line on trucks that break the law but warns of impact on urgent freight

Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | March, 9
Guidelines targeting speeding trucks at over 115km/h will soon be introduced, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay says.

The Minister also voiced concern on alleged breaches related to Scott’s Transport of Mt Gambier and sought to differentiate it from Scott’s Refrigerated Transport of Sydney.

While most truck drivers do the right thing and obey speed signs and chain of responsibility laws, there are "those who blatantly break the law," Gay says.

He has asked Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to work with NSW Police to develop a policy which will see trucks speeding above 115km/h detected and grounded until a thorough compliance check has been completed.

He has also called on a leadership forum to encourage the industry to "stamp out" dangerous behaviour, saying everyone in the supply chain, from a consignee to a manufacturer, is on notice.

"I know peak industry groups such as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and NatRoad share the government’s goal to crack down on rotten apples – they give everyone else in the industry a bad name,’ Gay says.

"We now have more inspectors on the road targeting chain of responsibility breaches.

"You need to know your obligations under the legislation to ensure trucks working with your business are not speeding illegally."

He says the government is determined to catch rogue drivers and transport operators following the recent incident of a speeding B-double of Scott’s Transport from Mt Gambier.

"In the last 48 hours police and RMS have joined forces with their interstate colleagues in Victoria and South Australia to locate and inspect 31 trucks belonging to the Scotts Group – a company not associated with Scott’s Refrigerated Transport whose head office is based in Sydney.

"Disturbingly, the Scotts investigation has resulted in six speed limiter breaches, 25 defect notices being issued, 15 fatigue-related violations, one overload offence, three vehicles being grounded and one driver detected allegedly driving under the influence of drugs," he adds.

"Furthermore, last week the truck driver involved in the horrific Menangle crash was charged with three counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.

"When this truck was inspected, investigators found the speed limiter had been tampered with. While I’m loathe to speculate on the exact cause of the Menangle crash, it’s simply not good enough for a small number of truck drivers to put others at risk of injury or death by barrelling down a highway at reckless speeds."

He says it’s "beyond belief" that some drivers and owner operators condone tampering with speed limiters.

The New South Wales Branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) has welcomed Gay’s move to get tough on "blatant law breakers" in the industry, saying there is no room for them.

ATA NSW Manager Jill Lewis believes only prime movers and drivers should be held for inspection, saying it is vital that the freight is not held up.

"Whilst it is important to ground those trucks and drivers immediately, it is also vital that the freight not be held up, particularly perishable freight," Lewis says.

"ATA NSW would also like to reiterate that only a small proportion of the state’s trucking industry is guilty of such offences, with the vast majority of operators providing professional and efficient service.

"The great majority of people in Australia’s trucking industry are safe, professional and responsible in their work.

"They do the right thing and are compliant with the law, especially speed and chain of responsibility requirements.

"However, there are those who blatantly break the law.

"ATA NSW supports Minister Gay’s recent call to have trucks that are caught excessively speeding grounded until an inspection is completed and the truck cleared for further use."

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