Australia’s a big trucking nation, but you wouldn’t know it from the way some road users drive. Also in this week’s Down Under Trucking: carelessness not terrorism; fugitive truck driver; police and regulatory enforcement.
Trucks unfortunately don’t just pose a danger to other road users. They also pose a danger to, er, idiots. How many times does it have to be said? So we’ll say it one more time for those people who lack the ability to think clearly…
Don’t. Try. To. Overtake. Turning. Trucks. It. Doesn’t. Work.
“You need to be careful of all large, heavy vehicles that are turning. If you put your vehicle in the path of a turning vehicle you may be crushed,” NSW state police said.
As the driver in the above picture found out the hard way.
Meanwhile one driver, presumably a truck driver, commented: “I see this heaps when I’m driving. There’s a B-Double going through the roundabout and cars try to get up the inside, or at the traffic lights and cars try to get through on the inside of the truck.”
Trucking is a dangerous job, no doubt about it. Being a parked truck and / or trailer also seems to be dangerous too.
On Saturday, the driver of a light van had to be rushed to hospital by a medical trauma team after he collided with a parked truck. Emergency services had to cut the van driver out of his vehicle. He was trapped for almost seventy minutes. Police are investigating.
In another incident, a truck driver, details not released, driving a cab-over with trailers in a double-B configuration, smashed into a parked trailer in Western Sydney. The front left of the prime mover was completely smashed. The back right of the parked trailer was destroyed. The driver had to be cut out of the cabin and was in a medically serious condition. He was sent to hospital.
Meanwhile, the phrase “roll-over Rover” took on a new meaning on Saturday when a semi-trailer combination rolled over at 7:00am while carrying a full load of pet food. Sadly, the trucker was injured and was sent to hospital. The truck also hit a power pole when it rolled off the road. Major traffic delays occurred while police got the area under control.
Carelessness destroyed truck, not terrorism
A “One Nation” political campaign truck was burned down to its wheels during the recent Australian Federal election. The truck was highly decorated with logos and the faces of the party’s leading figures.
However, a lack of evidence did not stop the head of the far right-wing “One Nation” party, Pauline Hanson, from attributing the fire to an act of political violence during Australia’s recent Federal election.
“Our One Nation truck in Tasmania was parked outside a shop while our candidate was buying groceries. Someone was seen torching it before fleeing. It is amazing how the left call for tolerance but act like they’re above the law when you don’t agree with their ideologies,” Hanson tweeted.
However, local police later said that the truck was not deliberately set alight and local closed circuit television did not reveal anyone at the back of the vehicle.
Firefighters concluded that the cause of ignition was, in fact, merely a discarded cigarette.
Fugitive van driver and meth-using trucker caught in enforcement action
A methamphetamine using truck driver, a van driver fleeing from the Australian border authorities, and a learner truck driver who had his two kids unrestrained in the cab during his lesson, were just some of the more unusual finds by state police this last week.
New South Wales police have been targeting the local trucking industry in “Operation Kamyon”. Between May 21 to 23, police carried out mobile patrols and inspected heavy trucks. The local vehicle regulator, NSW Roads and Maritime Services also carried out technical inspections.
Police stopped 313 vehicles, carrying out 313 breath tests and 75 mobile drug tests. Just under 90 defect notices were issued for defects relating to equipment, truck bodies/chassis, brakes, wheels and tyres, and oil / fuel leaks.
About 100 infringement notices were issued by police for matters such as load restraint breaches, vehicle standards breaches and work diary issues.
Police also issued four court attendance notices for a combination of “severe” truck dimension breaches. A series of other official actions were taken by police for and NSW RMS personnel on breaches of gross vehicle mass.
The fugitive van driver was turned over to immigration officials.
Industry association and trucking company collaborate on truck-tech innovations
The Australian Trucking Association and Aussie trucking company MaxiTrans are working on a converter dolly project.
“The project explores the further development of a rigid drawbar converter dolly and comes after… member discussions regarding the dynamic issues with hinged drawbar converter dollies, especially brake reactivity and tyre wear,” ATA Chief Engineer Bob Woodward said.
A MaxiTrans executive commented: “despite being an essential part of the trailer combination, it is sometimes neglected or overlooked. However due to the advent of A-Doubles, it has certainly become increasingly important. MaxiTRANS, in conjunction with the ATA, has been working on the concept for quite some time and understand that while the rigid drawbar may or may not suit every combination, we are confident that the initial trials will demonstrate the safety benefits to the wider transport community.”
Regulator investigates suspected safety breaches
Australia’s National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is carrying out six investigations of “serious offences” at what are described as “systemic safety breaches”. The investigations include allegations of
Directions to disregard work/rest requirements
The absence of a system for managing risks
Ineffective driver monitoring systems
Poor load restraint practices
“It’s important that executives make themselves aware of the personal responsibilities associated with their involvement in the heavy vehicle supply chain, and the serious penalties associated with failing to properly discharge them,” NHVR executive director Ray Hassall said.
A further eight cases are being monitored, the regulator added.