Truck cab security in sharp relief in the wake of Singleton

By: Rob McKay


UPDATE: Qube driver witnesses apprehension as ATA calls for added safety attention and highlights rising theft rate

Truck cab security in sharp relief in the wake of Singleton
A police image of the Wingecarribee River Bridge crash

 

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has issued a cab security alert to the industry following the appalling events in Singleton yesterday involving an allegedly stolen semi.

Meanwhile, the apprehension of the alleged truck thief was a shocking experience for a Qube drivers, it has emerged.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO Ben Maguire sees the incident as a wake-up call for drivers to secure their vehicles at all times.

"News reports that the truck was stolen from a service station at Murrurundi are a shock and have hit home amongst the Australian trucking community," Maguire says.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver, those injured, and the Singleton community."

Maguire underscores that an incident such as this resulting from an unsecure can have a devastating impact.

"Trucks and other commercial vehicles are easy to access, and this is a warning to all drivers and operators that trucks and loads must be secured at all times," he says.

"Keeping your trucks safe and secure is absolutely essential in today’s heightened security environment, no matter where you are, how small the rest stop or how safe you feel. Sadly, this has become our new norm."

Maguire notes there has been an increase in heavy truck theft since 2014.

This is based on National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council’s (NMVCRT) Heavy vehicle theft in Australia, 2004 to 2014 report.

This shows that between 2004 and 2014, heavy truck thefts increased 12 per cent, from 1,035 to 1,164 from a national fleet of 500,000, despite motor vehicle thefts falling 38 per cent during the same period. 

This is based on National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council’s (NMVCRT) Heavy vehicle theft in Australia, 2004 to 2014 report.

This shows that between 2004 and 2014, heavy truck thefts increased 12 per cent, from 1,035 to 1,164 from a national fleet of 500,000, despite motor vehicle thefts falling 38 per cent during the same period.

"Truck security can be simple and that complex regimes don’t have to be implemented," Maguire says.

"We need to talk to our mates and make security a normal part of our routines.

"Be aware of your surroundings, lock your truck at all times and keep your keys safe. Know where your vehicle is and who has access. If you’re hiring drivers, always do a check for the right licence and other genuine documents.

"Truckies also need to know their loads.

"Check your load regularly, especially when you’ve been away from your vehicle. Always make sure your load is secure, particularly if it’s something of value, like fuel."

Maguire says all truckies should have a security plan so drivers know what to do if something happens.

"It may be as simple as checking in regularly as part of your fatigue management plan to make sure people know where you are and what you’re doing," he says.

"And if you don’t already, then consider using a reporting system during or on completion of a job to make sure people know you’re safe and the location of your vehicle."

Charges have been laid against the alleged truck thief including steal motor vehicle, and two charge each of police pursuit – not stop, use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, assault officer in execution of duty, resist officer, and malicious damage.

Named in media reports as troubled 29-year-old Rod Johnson, he was apprehended after being dragged from the cab of a Qube tanker after his stolen truck had crashed and burned.

"Our driver stopped his truck when he saw the bloodstained driver running into the intersection," a Qube spokesperson tells ATN.  

"He went to him to offer first aid and had just put him in the passenger seat of our truck when police arrived and arrested the driver.

"Our driver is OK and was not interviewed by police."

The company views its driver as having done "everything right" in the circumstances and a review will take place as a matter of normal procedure.

Police say a critical incident team from Port Stephens Local Area Command is now investigating all circumstances surrounding the incident.

That investigation will be subject to independent review.

No further details are available at this time, however, police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

At about the same time, emergency services were called to Wingecarribee River Bridge, on the Hume Highway near Berrima and found a prime mover and trailer carrying frozen goods well alight.

The driver and sole occupant, aged in his 60s, was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics for minor injuries and taken to Bowral District Hospital.

 His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

The fire was extinguished by Fire & Rescue NSW, however the truck was completed destroyed.

NSW has suffered a spate of high-profile heavy truck incidents and other bad industry news in recent weeks.

 

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