Spate of Fatal Truck Crashes in the Run Up to Christmas Highlights Lethal Pressures In Trucking

Release date: 17/12/2012

The spate of fatal truck crashes on Australian roads in the run up to Christmas is not only a tragedy for those involved and their loved ones, but also a reminder of the pressures facing truck drivers every day when they step into the cab. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary, of the Transport Workers’ Union.

Tony was speaking after yet another week of fatal truck crashes across Australia saw seven people lose their lives and several others seriously injured.

“There have been a series of fatal truck crashes across the country in the past week, with reports indicating seven people losing their lives. The full details of each crash have yet to become clear and our thoughts are first and foremost with the families and loved ones of those involved. These incidents should be investigated not only by State road authorities and coroners, but also by workplace accident investigators, because the roads are a workplace for truck drivers.”

“One death on our roads is too many, but when so many people are losing their lives in truck crashes each week, it highlights the scale of the safety crisis and the lethal pressures in the trucking industry. Every day across Australia, truck drivers and transport companies are forced to meet unrealistic demands and in the run up to Christmas, this pressure can become even greater.”

“Each year 330 people tragically lose their lives in truck crashes on our roads and more than 5300 are injured. Driving a truck is the most dangerous job you can do in Australia, with one in three workplace fatalities occurring in trucking. More than 20 years of cross-party parliamentary reports, coronial and academic findings, as well as testimony from countless truckies themselves, have linked this crisis to pressures from major clients, particularly big retailers.”

“The Government’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has recognised just how serious an issue pressure from retail clients is by placing the retail sector top of their list for investigation in 2013. The prioritisation of the retail sector by the independent Tribunal is good for road users, truck drivers, transport companies and for businesses.”

Tony Sheldon concluded, “The work of the Tribunal will play a major role in the future to make our roads safer and reduce the tragic loss of life on our roads as a result of truck crashes. But we need major transport clients, particularly in retail, to take responsibility now for the safety of everyone in their supply chain and their role in pressuring truck drivers and transport companies through impossible demands, unreasonable demands and dangerously low rates of pay.”

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