Op Austrans 2 kicks off with national drug testing effort

Second iteration of police campaign this year surfaces with small minority allegedly offending

Op Austrans 2 kicks off with national drug testing effort
Operation Austrans has hit the roads again this year


National truck industry policing effort Operation Austrans has emerged for a second time this year – the first time it has been deployed in two phases.

The second phase began yesterday, with a drink and drug driving blitz in all states, and the full effort will continue to December 9.

The first phase ran from March 20 to April 1.

Queensland Police yesterday with conducted 469 tests at the Coomera weigh pads just off the Pacific Motorway northbound. Of those, seven drivers returned a positive drug test.

The campaign has also seen 11 infringements so far, with offences including speeding, seat belts, mobile phones, defective vehicles and driving unregistered or uninsured.

"The numbers are concerning to me as each one of these numbers could have resulted in a fatality,’ Queensland Police Acting Superintendent Peter Flanders says.

"Given that we are coming into the holiday season which will see a lot of people hitting the road, all motorists need to remember to drive safely."

Victoria Police says the operation will target heavy vehicle illegal activities such as drink and drug driving, speed, general traffic offences, fatigue, compliance and driver behaviour issues within the road transport industry.

Road Policing Operations Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said despite efforts to improve safety standards in the transport sector, heavy vehicles continue to be over-represented in road trauma.

"Comprising less than four per cent of the national road fleet, heavy vehicles are involved in around 17 per cent of road fatalities nationally," Fitzpatrick says.

"The heavy vehicle transport industry in Australia, through pure geography has to grapple with from long travel distances. When coupled with strong competition for the transport dollar we want to make sure that safety is not sacrificed for the sake of profit.

"I want to make it clear, I am not referring to all operators, the majority of the transport sector work very hard to adhere to and strive for safe and compliant industry practices.

"It is the minority that tarnish the perception of the industry and this is who we are targeting.

Victoria conducted 173 preliminary drug tests yesterday with four drivers found to have returned a positive result.

Throughout the 13 day operation, police nationwide will be looking at factors that contribute to heavy vehicle road trauma.

Possible offences police will target in the coming days include; driver work diary non-compliance, drug driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, licensing and registration, general roadworthiness and mass, dimension and load breaches.

The SA effort also resulted in 70 expiations notices, 42 defect notices and report 10 drivers for a range of offences.

"Through targeted policing we aim to improve safety in the heavy vehicle industry and reduce opportunities for illegal activity," said Inspector Spencer.

"We use a wide range of police resources to target major arterial routes across the state, as well as working with partner agencies such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator [NHVR] and Safe Work SA.

"Driver fatigue in the heavy vehicle industry is a major road safety concern.

"While most heavy vehicle operators are doing the right thing, a number of operators aren’t and it is those operators that Operation Austrans targets."

ATN has sought details from police in other states and is awaiting responses.


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