Cage Rural Overpasses: Union Call

Release date: 5/06/2013

The Transport Workers' Union says motorists in the bush deserve the same protections from potentially deadly rock throwers as in the major cities.

ABC News

Last week, a 10 kilogram rock narrowly missed a truck driver at Coolac who swerved when he saw someone on the overpass.

Police say the driver was lucky not to be killed.

Brad Gibson from the NSW Transport Workers Union Southern sub branch says the union is horrified such incidents are happening again.

"It was multiple deaths in Sydney, he said.

"The Transport Workers Union lobbied councils, we also lobbied to the RTA now the RMS. We put forward our recommendations. One of them was to have the cages put across the overpass which is what ended up occurring. Since then we've been fatality free and incident free in Sydney," he said.

Roads and Maritime says it cannot comment on any changes at Coolac as there is an ongoing police investigation.

Mr Gibson rejects that.

"I believe that would be an inappropriate comment from the RMS as they know how to remedy the situation," he said.

"They've done that in Sydney and you would think it would just be a rollout. You would not think they would need to reinvestigate what they investigated in Sydney. The safety aspect would outweigh the cost, especially those people that have already lost a loved one. And that poor young lady that was grossly disfigured from an event like this on the south coast."

Mr Gibson agrees the cages are costly but says RMS should install them on major thoroughfares like the Hume Highway.

"The truck movement along the Hume Highway is some of the heaviest movements in the country, he said.

"If we've got these incidents occurring then obviously we need to protect the drivers, not just heavy vehicles but also the general population," he said.

"We've fielded a few calls already with people asking what the union is going to do. And our response is we're going to do for the rural areas exactly what we've done for the metropolitan area, which is put the pressure to get the guards put in place."

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