Truck industry groups condemn drug-taking drivers


Both ATA NSW and the VTA say two rogue truck drivers exposed on national television last night are far removed from the wider industry.

Truck industry groups condemn drug-taking drivers
VTA CEO Peter Anderson says he is confident no transport operator condones or encourages drug use.

 

A Victorian truck driver filmed taking the drug ice while on the Hume highway is not indicative of the thousands of professional, diligent, and honest drivers currently working in Australia, two industry associations say.

The footage was used in a story broadcast as part of Channel Nine’s A Current Affair on Monday night.

A second driver, who has had his licence revoked, told the journalist that drug-taking had been a common exercise at the unnamed company where both worked.

He guessed as many as 10 per cent of drivers were guilty of poor behaviour on the roads.

Both the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the New South Wales branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) condemned the actions depicted, but say the rogue drivers make up a much smaller proportion of the road transport industry workforce.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson is particularly scathing of the suggestion that drivers are using illicit substances to combat fatigue.

"The VTA is confident that there are no transport operators that condone, let alone encourage, the use of drugs in the workplace," he says.

"Truck drivers to do not need to use illicit substances to fight fatigue – there are laws as well as widely adopted policies and procedures in place to effectively manage work and rest hours.

"The VTA, along with the wider industry, continues to advocate for regular drug testing of all employees."

ATA NSW manager Jodie Broadbent reiterates the industry position that there is no place for drugs in the road transport profession.

"This person clearly has a drug addiction problem and while he needs help, we don’t want him on our roads, either in a car or a truck," she says.

"Our members are sick of being lumped in with these individuals. These people go to work just like anyone else, they have the right to feel proud of the work they do."

Broadbent acknowledges the police and community concerns about drug-affected drivers of any road vehicle, and welcomes measures to address this.

"Trucking operators have introduced drug and alcohol policies that cover random testing of their workforce, but more needs to be done," she says.

"The chain of responsibility legislation in road law must be used by road authorities to prosecute those in the supply chain who don't manage their businesses properly, or who push drivers to achieve impossible targets."

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