“This is terribly sad news for the family and friends of those who died today and my thoughts are with them. This matter has yet to be fully investigated and we await the police report. But what we do know is that there is a crisis in trucking where drivers are pushed to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks all to meet unrealistic deadlines. The cause of this is low cost contracts by wealthy retailers and clients which put undue pressure on the system,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“The Federal Government’s own report released this year shows truck driving has the highest fatality rates of any industry. 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 Government is opposed to this solution and as a result it is families and the wider community which are bearing the brunt,” Sheldon added.
Separately, a truck driver is on trial in a Sydney court after a crash at Dee Why two years ago in which several people were injured. The court has heard the brakes on his truck were defective. TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen said: “My sympathies go to those bereaved today. A lack of truck maintenance and driver fatigue are major problems on the roads – we need an urgent solution to these problems.”
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.