SARTA claims SE Freeway offence win


Policy clarification leads to charges dropped against driver

SARTA claims SE Freeway offence win
A warning sign on the SE Freeway

 

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) has claimed a lobbying win regarding the South Eastern Freeway truck descent rules, citing a recent case involving SA Police dropping charges against a truck driver.

The association notes it had been involved in lobbying around the application of the new penalties which came into effect on May 1.

It says: "our success is securing a reasonable and sensible policy response from the government and the commissioner of police."


Read about SARTA's frustration with the rule interpretations, here


It notes it been watching carefully a court case "involving the same offence where a heavy vehicle driver was charged for using his primary brake under the old penalty regime prior to May 1.

"The wording of the offence is the same now as it was prior to 1 May, so this case effectively would be a test of the application of the law.

"The driver had been told eight or nine times by the officer, as recorded on the officer’s bodycam, that he could not use his primary brake at all, which is in complete contrast with the advice SARTA received from the Police Commissioner through the Minister for Police."

SARTA notes these included:

1. There is no prohibition on the use of primary brakes on the descent; and

2. The intent is that the truck should be in a low enough gear to control the speed of the truck without relying on the primary brake as the sole means of slowing the vehicle.

SARTA says last week SA Police dropped the charges against the driver, "seemingly in recognition of the above policy clarification that SARTA fought a hard and sustained media campaign for six-and-a-half weeks to secure".

The association also it was made aware by the RAA that one of its members has been infringed, since May 1, when their Scania brake lights came on (because the engine brake was engaged).

"Sadly the driver paid the fine without checking with us. The RAA strongly supports SARTA’s position and will work with us if necessary to change the law if SAPol continues to apply it inappropriately."

 

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