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NSW authorities blitz trucking during Operation Shield

Targeted enforcement campaign leads to officers handing out notices for defects, infringements and registration breaches.


Authorities in New South Wales have struck hard against the trucking industry in the lead-up to Christmas, issuing hundreds of defect notices during an operation targeting heavy vehicles.

NSW Police and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) inspected almost 10,000 trucks as part of Operation Shield, resulting in 796 defect notices, 129 infringements and 119 breaches for registration.

During inspections, officers uncovered evidence of speed limiter tampering, improper load restraint, expired travel permits, drug use and mechanical failures.

“To see some of the trucks during the operation with significant mechanical or load restraint faults is simply not good enough,” NSW Police assistant commissioner John Hartley says.

“One truck in particular was intercepted missing two wheels on the B-double trailer, and the axle being held up by chains. It was obviously fortunate for the driver and the company that officers took action when they did, effectively preventing a serious crash.”

Hartley says he saw an over-length truck and trailer with large lengths of angle iron being used to restrain other iron products. He says the practice “should be of grave concern” to those who loaded the trailer, the driver and the fleet operator.

“Even the customer who has purchased the product is liable in the event of a crash,” he says.  

Police and the RMS stationed themselves at the roadside and heavy vehicle inspection sites at Marulan, Chinderah, Daroobalgie, Parkes, Forbes, Cooma, Nimmitabel, Queanbeyan, Kankool, Bell, Mount Boyce, Mount White, Coffs Harbour, Pine Creek and Coolac.

NSW Police says there were 22 positive results from the 1,861 random drug tests officers conducted. The 3,478 random breath tests all returned a negative result.

It says speed tampering was of most concern.

“Out of the 264 trucks that were subjected to an engine control module download by officers, 33 were found to have been tampered with, which is a totally unacceptable risk to road safety,” Hartley says.

“Not only do those drivers face a penalty of $2,252, but operators and companies face penalties, with one recently fined $10,000 for allowing such practices to occur.”

“Speed tampering is not only dangerous to the driver and other motorists, but it also places the operators and directors of companies at great risk of prosecution, which is evident in recent court outcomes where penalties have been over a million dollars in some circumstances,” he says.

Police agencies in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia also took part in Operation Shield.

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