Redstar Transport faces national audit after Newell tragedy

By: Anjali Behl and Rob McKay

Company to cooperate in process as NSW Police speaks of driver fatigue and loading shortcomings

Redstar Transport faces national audit after Newell tragedy
Redstar says there is no clear understanding yet of the cause of the accident


Redstar Transport is the focus of a national audit following last weekend’s fatal crash on the Newell Highway.

Following the police action, Redstar released a statement about the events over the past week but was unable to comment on the investigation.

"Redstar Transport wishes to confirm that in the early hours of last Saturday morning (6th May 2017) a worst case accident occurred approximately twelve kilometres north of Dubbo on the Newell Highway," the company says.

It involved a south bound Redstar Transport B-double and a north bound four wheel drive passenger car carrying a family of two adults and three children.

"The truck and four wheel drive collided. As a result of the collision, two of the children are now tragically deceased, one other is under hospital care, while the two adults survived with only minor injuries.

"Our driver was injured and is currently under hospital care in Sydney recovering from back surgery.

"From any point of view this incident is heartbreaking.  It is beyond any words to describe the matter.

"At Redstar, our best thoughts and strong hearts go out to all of the people involved in this most unfortunate event and we pray that they all have the strength to continue on with life as they will want to, in the communities in which they live, amongst their friends and family.

"At this point in time there is no clear understanding about the cause of this accident.  

"We are continuing to work with the authorities to establish the facts. 

"To that end, we confirm that the authorities have today commenced a review of Redstar Transport’s operations nationally. 

"Redstar Transport and its employees are co-operating fully in this process."

New South Wales Police, as the lead force in the audit effort, raided Redstar depots in Yennora and Dubbo at 6am, releasing an eight minute video of a press conference at the Yennora yard later in the morning on social media.

The action was in response to Saturday’s Newell Highway tragedy in which two young brothers were killed and their younger sibling injured when a B-double and the family’s four-wheel drive collided.

"As a result of all fatal accidents involving trucks, we make sure the company involved have the right governance around their operations and ensure the community of New South Wales and, in this case Australia, is safe to go about their way," the officer in charge says.

"In this case, this company has over 160 prime movers and 600 trailers around Australia.

"We are currently, in conjunction with other states and in Dubbo in NSW doing a complete audit of these depots.

"Here in Yennora, this morning, we started our audit at 6am looking for issues with the trucks, the trailers and the drivers.

"It appears that all the trucks initially inspected had significant load issues … and in some instances, these trucks had been driven long distances from other states to this premises with loads that we would consider insecure.

"We also found, here and in our Dubbo audit, significant issues around fatigue, as far as the drivers are concerned.

"And in fact, one driver is in the process of being issued with a field court attendance notice in relation to serious fatigue issues following some admissions made around entry into a log book."

The officer indicated that the driver involved was one of a number in Yennora and Dubbo it believes were involved in similar behaviour.

"A number of the log books we’ve found this morning were inconsistent with our expectations of driving with heavy vehicles," the officer says.

The officer was asked by a journalist at the yard if NSW Police commonly find such shortcomings in the industry.

"Not all the times we do this – there are some companies that are very good, there are also a lot of   companies that push the limits and push their drivers and we need to make sure through audits like this that we keep a handle on it and we make sure those companies have right governance in place to ensure the safety of the other drivers on the roads," he replies.

A Queensland Police spokesperson confirmed to ATN its officers conducted "a safety investigation in relation to a trucking company in Brisbane".

The result of inspections of four trucks was "two infringements for failing to complete record keeping" were recorded.

Victoria Police also confirmed involvement.

"Victoria Police Heavy Vehicle Crime Investigation Unit can confirm we are assisting NSW police with an audit of a National trucking company which has sites here in Victoria," a spokesperson says.  

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