Op Austrans: VTA calls to great liaison on drugs

By: Rob McKay


Closer links and more attention needed to combat danger, Anderson says

Op Austrans: VTA calls to great liaison on drugs
Peter Anderson says concerted approach will help drivers and companies

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) is calling for stronger links between the industry and government in light of state drug-driving figures that emerged from Operation Austrans.

The VTA believes Victoria Police statistics showing one in 37 Victorian truck drivers tested positive to drug driving demonstrates the need for ongoing co-operation between enforcement agencies and heavy vehicle operators to eliminate substance abuse by isolated elements of the industry.

Initial statistics appear to show the Victorian rate to be almost twice as bad as the national average and almost three times worse than New South Wales, though thorough details are yet to be revealed.

"The overwhelming majority of truck drivers do the right thing when it comes to following the law and not engaging in behaviour and social practices that could compromise road safety," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"As an industry group we attempt to work closely with police and enforcement agencies to educate operators and drivers about the perils of substance abuse.

"We welcome any opportunity to expand and build further on our efforts to date, in the interests of creating awareness among all road users of the legal and moral need to refrain from driving under the influence of illicit drugs.

"Workers in the transport industry are reflective of society as a whole, where an unfortunate minority culture of drug driving does exist.

"This certainly does not excuse the behaviour of any heavy vehicle driver under the influence of drugs, but it is important to frame the matter in its rightful societal context.

"The VTA will continue to advocate to all operators and their drivers of the genuine need to manage such behaviour, and for operators to take swift action if evidence of it is discovered."

The figures were greeted with serious concern by police and it is understood in political circles.

ATN is awaiting a response from police and state roads, ports and road safety minister Luke Donnellan’s office.

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