SARTA backs Garden Grove in driver dismissal case

By: Anjali Behl

Company dismisses two drivers in as many months for dangerous driving but union says the dismissals reflects company's 'poor' safety practices

SARTA backs Garden Grove in driver dismissal case
The image posted on Facebook shows a Garden Grove driver overtaking another heavy vehicle from the wrong side of the road.


Landscape supply company Garden Grove found itself in the midst of another dangerous driving case that ultimately led to the dismissal of another of its truck drivers last week.

It comes a month after a similar case that led the company to dismiss a driver for an unsafe driving incident captured on video and circulated on social media.

Last month's video showed a Garden Grove truck overtake a second truck dangerously, forcing an oncoming vehicle off the road to avoid a head-on collision.

Last Wednesday’s incident was highlighted through an image posted on Facebook last week.

While the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) urges South Australian authorities to conduct an investigation of Garden Grove’s safety practices, South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive officer Steve Shearer says the union’s call is baseless because the authorities do not have "any issues" with the company.

Speaking on behalf of the company, Shearer says both SA Police and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have clearly stated that they do not have any concerns regarding safety practices at Garden Grove.

Once the company found out about the incidents, it contacted SA Police's Heavy Vehicle Enforcement Unit and made them aware of the footage and cooperated during the investigations.

Garden Grove also conducted its own investigations, which involved speaking to the drivers; however, after both drivers failed to convince the company that there was a valid reason for their dangerous manoeuvres on the road they were fired, Shearer says.

Late last month, the management had circulated a notice among its employees that there was no excuse for breach of safety rules on any account "which makes the incident and the driver’s bad and unnecessary decision even more unfortunate", Shearer says.

However, the union said that Garden Grove’s dismissal of second driver in two months is a reflection of its "poor safety practices".

"The TWU believes there are systematic problems at Garden Grove which are putting drivers under pressure and resulting in risks to the general public," TWU SA/NT branch secretary Ian Smith says.

"This latest image indicates these problems have not been addressed after the recent dash-cam footage was revealed. 

"Again the drivers are being punished when safety incidents are exposed but the company now needs to be investigated." 

Smith says Garden Grove is "covering up its poor safety practices", which is making many "experienced" drivers to leave the company.

"At least nine experienced drivers have left Garden Grove in just the last few months over conditions at the company," Smith says.

"We call upon the authorities to take these issues seriously and investigate this company."

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