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Near-miss footage raises speed limit questions, SARTA says

Shearer says recent road incident captured by a vehicle dash cam highlights wider issue within Port Augusta region


Footage of a truck driver overtaking a roadtrain near Port Augusta has sparked debate around the existing 90km/h road train speed limits within the region. 

A truck driver, pulling Garden Grove trailers, has been stood down according to the transport company, after dash cam footage was uploaded to Facebook by motorist Al N Aileen Cortina who was forced to veer off the road to avoid colliding with the truck.

The footage shows the driver of the car being forced to drive off the shoulder of the road, with the video captioned, “We had to do some offroad driving in the Cortina this morning just out of Port Augusta.”

At the time of writing, the video has been viewed 72,000 times and shared by 928 people since Tuesday.

South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive officer Steve Shearer says while an investigation needs to take place to properly establish the details of the incident, the footage highlights a wider issue within the Port Augusta region.

“Between Adelaide and Port Augusta, road trains are limited to 90km/h, so B-doubles, semis, truck and dogs, they’re all doing 100km/h and they’re catching up and then they have to be patient and wait for a passing lane,” Shearer says.

“Some of them pull out and pass anyway which isn’t the right thing to do, but the problem does go away if the trucks are all doing 100km/h.

“We ran trials alongside the Department of Transport that resulted in permission for road trains to travel at 100km/h between Port Augusta and Perth, and Port Augusta and Darwin.”

Shearer says the truck driver caught on camera may have overtaken without a clear view around a bend and urges truck drivers to wait for overtaking lanes rather than risking lives.

“For whatever reason, it certainly looks from the dash cam footage like he commenced an overtaking manoeuvre on a bend.

“Lesson number one is you do not start an overtaking manoeuvre if you don’t have a clear view.

“The second point is, he’s done this a very short distance from an overtaking lane.

“There are usually two, maybe three signs informing you of the overtaking lane.

“Take a few more minutes instead of somebody’s life or your own life – it’s just not worth risking.

“He is very lucky, we all are as an industry, that that motorist remained calm and kept that car tidy even though he had to go off the road.”

Garden Grove released a statement the day after the footage emerged, apologising to the public and ensuring they will undertake a full investigation.

“We are deeply disappointed by this incident and are currently conducting a full investigation,” the company says in the statement.

“We understand the dangerous potential of this situation and are extremely grateful of the actions of the other driver to ensure no one was hurt.

“We assure you of our commitment to safety, and that appropriate action is currently being taken.

“We apologise to the community over the bad experience with one of our vehicles,” the statement says.

SA police have confirmed that members of their Heavy Vehicle Enforcement Section are investigating the footage.

“When Police receive such footage they will view it in order to ascertain what offences have been committed and if the parties involved can be identified and prosecuted,” SA police said.

“In order for this to occur it is important that Police are able to speak to the owner of the footage to verify the time, date, location and other details to assist in a successful prosecution.”

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