Owner-driver scoffs at road authorities' exercises

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush


Ken Wilkie says police and road authorities have little concern for truck drivers

Owner-driver scoffs at road authorities' exercises
Owner-driver Ken Wilkie says Australia's truck drivers are being treated as second-class citizens by police officers and other road authorities.

 

Owner-driver Ken Wilkie says Australia’s truck drivers are being played for suckers by the authorities.

He believes Operation Austrans is nothing but a belittling score-notching exercise.

"On Thursday, May 26, I was heading north from Brisbane," Wilkie says.

"As I was approaching the Burpengary weighbridge, I positioned myself in the left lane as per signed instructions.

"Running down the hill under the Deception Bay overbridge, I was confronted by a long string of traffic entering the highway via the Deception Bay slip road.

"Lo and behold there is a highway patrol vehicle parked well back on the slip road.

"Naturally, I expected the officer was watching to make sure suckers like me were in the lane required."

Wilkie says he had travelled around three quarters of a kilometre past the bridge and had moved across one lane to clear slower traffic, all done with appropriate indication and cautious movement onto the middle lane.

"Suddenly old mate in the highway patrol is straddling the middle and right lanes with all the party lights and wigwag headlights blazing.

"It was more drama than the start of Bathurst and in full view of hundreds of motorists," he recalls.

"What would the motorists be thinking? Another lame-brained truck driver obviously putting all and sundry at risk?"

Wilkie says, due to the right steer tyre touching the fog line, and the constant mid-afternoon traffic, he was forced to alight from the left hand door.

He says the Queensland Police Service offer then announced he was wanting a breath test, as well as licence and work diary check, as well as ensuring that Wilkie’s safety triangles were on board.

"He waived the safety triangles request when informed that triangles had to be accessed from right dog box door," Wilkie says.

"He didn’t want to get me killed, he only wanted to make an example out of me."

Wilkie cites other instances, including one between a fellow truck driver and a Queensland Police officer who would not accept an emailed a BFM/AFM accreditation certificate and promptly fined the driver $630.

He was also informed of an incident with a NSW Roads and Maritime Services officer near Forbes who, due to a lack of a tape measure, used a ‘goose step’ to measure the length of a driver’s rig.

The officer was also said to remark that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was irrelevant in that state.

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