Police Truck Blitz Shows Safety Risks In Trucking & Need For Safe Rates

Release date: 7/04/2016

TWU SA/NT Branch Media Release, 7 April 2016
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on the Federal Government to drop its opposition to a watchdog aimed at reducing risks on the roads as a police truck blitz showed major safety breaches.

The Federal Government is opposed to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and is fighting its first ruling setting safe minimum rates for truck drivers in the courts. A court decision is expected later today.
“Minister Christopher Pyne stood beside the SA transport employers’ group in Adelaide yesterday and stated drivers don’t need a minimum safe rate and that they don’t need to be paid for all their work. The implications are that the Federal Government is happy with the high death toll in truck crashes and the high rate of bankruptcies among owner drivers,” said SA/NT branch secretary Ray Wyatt.
A police operation targeting trucks on the South Eastern Freeway showed 67 out of 78 trucks stopped were found to be in breach of safety rules. Over half of the trucks had major defects. One driver was found to have not had enough rest over a 24 hour period while another was in possession of drugs and had falsified his work diary. One truck had smoke coming from its brakes as it descended a hill and when it was stopped the temperature of the brakes was measured at 270C.
“What is causing drivers to not take enough rest? What is making them take drugs to keep going? Why are they travelling too fast? Because of the pressure they are under. This pressure won’t be lifted by fines and court appearances it will be lifted when we tackle the attitude in our industry that drivers are expected to work for free for a large part of the day and the rest of the day at ridiculously low rates,” Wyatt added.

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