“The Federal Government is continuing to close down any real solution to holding wealthy clients at the top of the transport chain to account. People are dying every day while the evidence shows that trucking is simply not safe. The Government is ignoring this crisis while playing their political game,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“The Government has prioritised an urgent inquiry into a two-week period when some drivers were paid a safe minimum rate for their work. But there is no inquiry into the deaths and the safety problems in the industry. One in five transport operators break safety rules to meet deadlines, according to Safe Work Australia, and we are seeing the evidence of this in the death toll on the roads and in this police blitz. Only a system of safe rates where wealthy clients are held to account for their low cost contracts will fundamentally address this issue,” he added.
NSW police checked over 13,800 trucks during their operation and found more than 1600 defects, including faulty brakes, faulty steering, fuels and oil leaks. They issued 888 infringement notices to drivers for breaches of fatigue rules, loading offences, and licence breaches. Sixty-six trucks were non-compliant or tampered with to allow excessive speeds while 12 drivers tested positive for drugs.
Meanwhile, a man has died and a woman was injured after a four-vehicle crash north of Newcastle this morning.
John Waltis, a driver for 40 years, says he know of the risks being taken on the road and what it can result in. “I’ve been to 52 funerals of mates, I don’t want to go to anymore.”
The Government’s own reports released recently show that road transport has the “highest fatality rates of any industry in Australia” with 12 times the average for all industries. The reports also show the link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the safe rates system would reduce truck crashes by 28%.
In March 25 people were killed in truck crashes; in April there were 24 deaths.