One driver was killed yesterday and two were injured after two trucks crashed head on at the Eyre Highway, west of Ceduna, while another driver died when his prime mover and trailer crashed through a barrier and plunged into water on the Kwinana Freeway, south of Perth.
“This is very sad news for the family and friends of those who died and my thoughts and condolences are with them. Police will fully investigate these crashes to ascertain the cause but we already know that drivers are everyday under pressure to take risks which results in their deaths and the deaths of other road users. Drivers are pushed to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks all to make enough money to support their families. The cause of this is often low cost contracts by wealthy retailers and clients which put pressure on the system,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
In the past month 16 people have died in truck crashes, including eight truck drivers. A Safe Work Australia report last month showed truck driving is Australia’s deadliest job with 583 drivers killed between 2003 and 2015. Transport companies are also under pressure: a Safe Work Australia survey of transport employers shows one in five admitted to breaking safety rules to meet deadlines – this compares with just 6% of employers in other industries.
“The Federal Government’s own report released this year shows truck driving is Australia’s deadliest profession. It shows a system of safe rates, where drivers are paid minimum rates for all their work, would cut truck crashes by 28%*. Yet the Federal Government is opposed to holding wealthy clients to account for the pressure on drivers and transport companies and it is the wider community which is bearing the brunt,” Sheldon added.
Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John died in a truck crash in 2010, said: “My brother’s death was not an accident. The driver who crashed into him was inexperienced, fatigued and driving a truck which had faulty brakes. I want to make sure no other family goes through what mine is still going through,” she said.
In the 10 years to 2014 over 2,500 people died in truck crashes.