Operation Austrans: 559 heavy vehicle defects found

SA operation finds 158 major vehicle defects and issues 519 traffic infringement notices


Operation Austrans, the month-long police investigation into the transport industry in South Australia, has concluded with close to 14 per cent of heavy vehicles inspected found with defects.

According to the SA police’s numbers, the four-week operation stopped and checked over 4,000 heavy vehicles across the state including, Ceduna, Port Augusta, Cockburn and Renmark.

From those 4,000 inspections, the police allege 559 trucks were in some way defected and of those, 158 had major defects.

"I am concerned that 80 heavy vehicles were operating on our roads with break defects; the risk to the drivers and to other road users speaks for itself," traffic support branch investigations manager inspector Ben Spencer says.

"We also detected 15 critical risk breaches, where drivers exceeded their working hours or failed to take their minimum rest time. In some instances, drivers were grounded to prevent further driving.

"Fatigue is one of the fatal five; one of the five main factors that contribute to road trauma on our roads.  A fatigued driver operating a heavy vehicle creates an extreme and unacceptable risk."

Notices for work diary offences reached 157 by the end of the operation, notices for failing to wear a seatbelt topped out at 33, notices for unsafe vehicles totalled 15, and 19 notices were handed out or using a hand-held mobile phone.

Load restraint issues created 54 expiation notices to be issued, with over half of those creating chain of responsibility investigations looking at employers, consigners, and/or loading managers.

The number of traffic infringement notices to do with the use of heavy vehicles that broke current vehicle standards or Australian design rules totalled 70 over the month.

 "These figures come at the end of a month-long enforcement operation with over 4,000 heavy vehicles stopped," Spencer says.

"It is important to acknowledge there are many responsible drivers and operators out there who are doing the right thing, however those drivers or operators who are involved in risk taking behaviour will be targeted by police, state-wide."

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