Truck drivers to mark one year since NTC Report
Release date: 10/11/2009
Members of Transport Workers Union working in the road transport industry will today meet on the steps of Town Hall in Sydney to mark one year since the National Transport Commissions (NTC) landmark report recommending urgent changes to the industry.
The NTC prepared the report with the assistance of transport safety expert Professor Michael Quinlan and Lance Wright QC, the former president of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
The report concluded that the effect of commercial practices on road safety for heavy vehicle drivers and the community was significant. It found:
1. In Australasia, the road transport industry accounts for the highest number of work-related fatalities in any given year and being truck driver is ranked in the top six most dangerous occupations.
2. In Australia, there has been no significant shift in the annual number of fatalities resulting from crashes involving articulated trucks between the early 1990s and 2007 despite an overall decline in the annual road toll.
3. The risks affect other road users. In 2007, 235 people died in incidents involving articulated and heavy rigid trucks. A far larger number suffered serious injury.
The Quinlan/Wright report concluded that:
‘Economic factors create an incentive for truck drivers to drive fast, work long hours and use illicit substances to stay awake. These economic factors include:
• low rates of pay;
• incentive based payment methods (such as per kilometre or per trip);
• unpaid working time;
• Other factors include the hyper-competitive nature of the industry and the low bargaining power faced by drivers.’
TWU national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said given that 287 people have died on our roads, and hundreds of mums, dads and their children are injured due to truck crashes since the report’s recommendations, there was a dire need for action.
“This week marks the one-year anniversary of the report being handed to government, and hundreds of people have been killed in our industry in that time,” Mr Sheldon said.
“Drivers are frustrated and we want to see real change now before more are killed,” he said.
Transport Workers Union
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