The Union warns that the stricter rules for drivers the ATA is seeking will not lead to a reduction in truck crashes and will only make drivers suffer.
“No driver wants to drive long hours and skip breaks causing them to drive tired. They do it because they or the transport operator employing them are trying to make enough money to meet their costs and put food on the table. The source of this pressure is the low cost contracts from wealthy clients which put an impossible financial squeeze on transport. The ATA is yet again showing its disregard for truck drivers by holding them entirely responsible for the crisis in the industry,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The ATA recommendations are being made in relation to chain of responsibility rules under the Queensland government’s new Heavy Vehicle Regulator Law.
Chain of responsibility rules do not tackle the economic pressure which force drivers and transport operators to take risks, rather they focus on prosecuting clients and transport operators after a truck crash has taken place. There have been few prosecutions of clients resulting in paltry fines under chain of responsibility rules following serious truck crashes involving deaths.
“The ATA and the rest of the transport industry needs to get behind a real solution to safety risks, a solution that tackles the root causes of fatigue, overloaded vehicles, unmaintained vehicles and inadequate load restraints. Rather than focusing on prosecuting these breaches when people are killed we need a system which holds clients accountable for the low cost transport contracts which cause the problems,” said Sheldon.