South Australia issues stern warning to truckers

Police tell industry to make sure trucks don’t become "death traps", after recent operation uncovers large amount of safety offences

South Australia issues stern warning to truckers
South Australia issues stern warning to truckers
Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | April 4,2012

South Australia Police has issued a stern warning to the trucking industry after almost 50 vehicles were caught breaching safety during a recent operation.

A semi-trailer travelling on the South Eastern Freeway lost its brakes in March and was forced into an arrester bed. It was then towed to Ottoway and examined by a police mechanic who found serious mechanical failures.

Later that month, police and officers from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure visited the same company at its Tungkillo yard and found 22 vehicles out of 28 were faulty. Breaches ranged from a worn king pin to oil leaks, cracked chassis, worn rocker boxes and rust.

On a separate occasion, a sub-contractor from a major trucking company was intercepted on the same freeway at Murray Bridge and was found to have breached fatigue laws and tampered with the speed limiter. The driver also failed to secure his load.

Out of those 49 vehicles that were recently intercepted, two drivers tested positive to drugs and four were booked for unsecured loads.

Three had tampered their speed limiters and 15 trucks were defected, with offences including structural cracks in trailers. Another 14 were issued with infringement notices.

One of the drivers who tested positive to drugs had his vehicle defected for tampering with his speed limiter. The driver had another encounter with police last October when they discovered the speed limiter detected at a maximum of 204km/h – which is more than twice the speed limit.

Those breaching laws were issued fines ranging from $350 to $795 for each offence.

Inspector Andrew Thiele says the police will continue to hold truck drivers accountable "whenever possible and place them before the courts for breaches of the legislation".

"We understand the public has expectations that police will enforce legislation in relation to heavy vehicle safety," Thiele says.

"We are sending a message to all parties involved in the transport of goods – all the way through the supply chain – to ensure their business practices do not pose a risk to road users.

"We will not only be looking at truck drivers but also the companies who place unrealistic demands on drivers to deliver goods in an unreasonable timeframe. The law also places obligations on companies to ensure their trucks are maintained and are not death traps."

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