Anti-RSRT Arguments Sickening
Release date: 16/06/2016
AFR, by Tony Sheldon, 16 June 2016
Arguments against a solution to the high death toll in trucking ring hollow, as two letters to your newspaper show. To say there is no need for a solution since the 2548 people killed over a 10-year period is a reduction on the previous 10 years is sickening.
To quote the law, fines and potential jail time designed to hold employers responsible if truck drivers are pushed to break safety rules shows a disregard for reality. The horrific 2013 Mona Vale crash which killed two people after an oil tanker rolled is a perfect case in point. The transport company Cootes was fined $500,000 after hundreds of defects were found across its fleet.
The oil company and the retailer at the top received no fines at all. But it was the driver who was charged with offences which could have resulted in jail. He was acquitted of these charges when a jury last February heard his brakes had failed. There is a reason why these laws and penalties have failed: they do not tackle the source of the problem.
Transport operators and drivers will continue to break safety rules as long as there is financial pressure on them to do so. A system of safe rates would ensure oil companies, retailers and manufacturers which dictate low-cost contracts would be held to account for safety in their supply chains. A road safety tribunal was doing just that before the federal government tore it down in April. No amount of political gimmicks can hide this fact.
Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, Sussex Street, NSW
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