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Down Under Trucking: truck accidents; government trucking inquiry; truck driver wins BIG!

Camel, wombat, kangaroo, big empty road, truck and flatbed trailer. It’s Down Under Trucking. Photo: Shutterstock.

Down Under Trucking: a round-up of trucking news from Australia. Top news this week: revealed – how trucks have accidents in Australia; a new in-depth government inquiry into trucking and transport. And, finally, how one truck driver thought he was being pranked… but, in reality, he was winning BIG!

Mechanical failure, fatigue and drivers are the main causes of truck losses

A study by the National Truck Accident Research Center, in association with the National Transport Insurance company, has pinpointed the main causes of truck losses. These are mechanical failure (6.5 percent) with steer tyre failures being the predominant underlying cause; fatigue was responsible for 14.8 percent of all losses; and, the big one, driver actions/behaviors/conditions (fatigue, inappropriate speed, human error) caused 54 percent of all losses since 2009. Also worth noting is that third-party vehicles are usually to blame for fatal multi-vehicle accidents. “NTI has been reporting on this figure for a decade and the statistic has never been outside of the band of 80% and 100%,” the report says.

Australian transport regime under the microscope

Australia’s economic detective, the Productivity Commission, has been tasked with examining just how beneficial the nation’s transport regulators actually are. The transport system as a whole is under the microscope too. The Australian Federal Government asked the Commission to review the economic impacts of government reforms to establish the national maritime regulator, the national heavy vehicle regulator and the national rail safety regulator and the investigation system. “Now is the time to examine whether they are working in a way which boosts productivity and promotes safety,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

There were a series of national reforms in 2008-2009 and the Commission has been asked to inquire what the benefits are to the transport industry; the benefits to the community from consistent national safety regulation; the benefits derived from transport as an input into other industries; the impact of cross-border consistency; what relevant global or domestic changes have taken place since 2008; and what are/were the most important contributors to creating transport benefits. The Commission must report its findings within 12 months.

Large industry trade body, the Australian Logistics Council, welcomed the move. “ALC research has previously shown a one per cent increase in supply chain efficiency is worth $2 billion to the economy. Accordingly, we must take every opportunity to ensure our regulatory settings are enabling efficiency improvements,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.

Major road works upgrade

Australia’s Federal government continues to pump cash into the nation’s road system. The Federal Government has committed A$50m (US$35.54 million) to upgrade the “Kings Highway” corridor and duplicate William Slim Drive. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the upgrades will bolster freight efficiency and improve safety. Minister for Cities, Alan Tudge, pointed out that William Slim Drive is heavily congested during peak periods, with about 20,000 daily vehicle movements. Meanwhile, Minister Tudge also revealed that the Western Sydney of Fairfield will receive a A$16.4 million upgrade to Smithfield Road which will be widened to create a four-lane, two-way, carriageway.

Kenworth recognizes the value of a good night’s sleep

Sleep is wonderful. No doubt about it. And the good folks at truck manufacturer Kenworth Australia evidently realize that value of truck drivers getting good quality snooze time. It has released a new sleeper configuration. As standard, the new 1400mm aero roof sleeper, which can be used in a variety of applications from single trailers to road trains, comes with a 790 mm inner spring mattress and even the option of a King single, which is 300mm wider than than the standard of 1090mm. The standard bunk also comes with multiple storage tower and hanging space options.

New president for NatRoad

It’s change at the top for industry association NatRoad as President Allan Thornley has resigned to concentrate on his own business. NatRoad CEO, Warren Clark thanked Thornley for his commitment and personal investment during his term. Scott Davidson, Managing Director of QMC Logistics, will assume the role of President. Davidson has been a Director of NatRoad since 2014. NatRoad represents the trucking industry in Australia. That’s more than 45,000 trucking companies employing more than 140,000 people.

And, finally, Melbourne truck driver wins BIG!

A Melbourne truck driver thought he was the victim of a telephone prank on April Fool’s Day, but, he quickly realized, he really had won the equivalent of US$142,000!

The truck driver won the first prize in the Lucky Lotteries Mega Jackpot Draw, which just so happened to be drawn on April Fool’s Day.

“My wife rang me and said we received an email about winning the lottery, but because it’s April Fool’s Day, we thought it must have been a prank. But knowing it’s real, well that’s just awesome!” he enthused.

When asked how he planned to spend his prize, he responded: “I work a lot every week, about 70 hours, so this will help me slow down a bit. I am already thinking about not going to work tomorrow and having a day off to really celebrate the win! Does that come with a prize? A day of [vacation]?”

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Jim Wilson, Australia Correspondent

Sydney-based journalist and photojournalist, Jim Wilson, is the Australia Correspondent for FreightWaves. Since beginning his journalism career in 2000, Jim has primarily worked as a business reporter, editor, and manager for maritime publications in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. He has won several awards for logistics-related journalism and has had photography published in the global maritime press. Jim has also run publications focused on human resources management, workplace health and safety, venture capital, and law. He holds a degree in law and legal practice.

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