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Mixed report card for trucking on first day of Operation Steel

Drivers pass drug and alcohol tests, but authorities issue defects for severe loading breach, non-compliant speed limiters and more

April 17, 2013

Trucking has been handed a mixed report card on the first day of a joint operation in New South Wales targeting load restraint, vehicle standards and speed.

Results from the first day of Operation Steel 3, a two-day blitz of trucking involving NSW Police and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), show authorities inspected 147 trucks and issued 85 defect notices and 86 traffic infringement notices.

Authorities also conducted 193 random breath tests and 38 roadside drug tests, none of which returned a positive result.

The results were not as positive in other areas, with a truck caught severely exceeding width dimension requirements while transporting a helicopter. Authorities uncovered 17 major defects that ranged from faulty lights and tyres to cracks in chassis.

A truck driver with a cancelled licence was busted behind the wheel of a truck with insecure container pins.

Police Superintendent Stuart Smith says trucks with poorly restrained loads have the potential to seriously injure or kill innocent people.

“Crashes involving heavy vehicles are far more likely to be serious, so it is of paramount importance that truck companies and truck drivers take extra care to ensure their vehicles comply with the speed limits, vehicle standards and load restraint guidelines set by the RMS,” Smith says.

RMS Director of Customer and Compliance Peter Wells says an important aspect of the operation involves reminding the industry to comply with height restrictions.

“We are also focussing on over-height vehicles during this operation to ensure their compliance. The damage to infrastructure and inconvenience to other road users when an over-height vehicle blocks a tunnel is simply unacceptable,” he says.

“There are clear alternative routes for vehicles which cannot use tunnels and this operation is reminding heavy vehicle operators of their responsibility to use these routes.”

The 85 defect notices were handed out to trucks that failed to meet roadworthiness requirements, while the 86 infringement notices were for drivers caught exceeding load dimensions, running worn tyres, not wearing seatbelts, using a mobile phone while driving and using damaged vehicle headlights.

Although not providing an exact figure, NSW Police says there were “numerous non-compliant speed limiters” detected.

Operation Steel 3, which wraps up today, was launched following investigations into two crashes in 2012 in which load-shift within trucks was allegedly a contributing factor.

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