Garden Grove Fires Second Truck Driver Over Dangerous Driving

The Advertiser, by Kathryn Bermingham, 12 July 2017

Outdoor supply company Garden Grove has dismissed a second truckie after his unsafe driving was exposed on social media — just weeks after another driver was sacked in strikingly similar circumstances.

A picture of a Garden Grove truck overtaking across a solid white line was posted on Facebook last week.

It is believed the photo was taken near the Whyalla steelworks and is the second example of poor driving by a Garden Grove truckie to be posted online in two months.

The Transport Workers’ Union says the latest photo shows there are “systemic” problems at Garden Grove, which is “putting drivers under pressure, and resulting in risks to the general public”.

“This latest image indicates these problems have not been addressed after the recent dashcam footage was revealed,” said TWU SA/NT branch secretary Ian Smith.

“Nine experienced drivers have left Garden Grove in just the last few months over conditions at the company.”

Photo: A second Garden Grove truck driver has been dismissed after a photo of an illegal manoeuvre was posted on social media last week.

Photo: A second Garden Grove truck driver has been dismissed after a photo of an illegal manoeuvre was posted on social media last week.

But speaking on behalf of Garden Grove, executive officer of the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Steve Shearer denied the two incidents were a poor reflection on the company’s safety standards.

“They’re a large fleet with a lot of drivers,” he said.

“Sadly, any fleet with that many drivers would have a small number who are a bit silly and do the wrong thing on the road.”

He said the company initiated an investigation within hours of the initial post.

The company contacted the poster of the photo as well as the driver, who was en route to Melbourne.

“ … They contacted the person to have a conversation with them and get their version of what they saw, because sometimes a photograph gives you an accurate picture and sometimes it doesn’t,” Mr Shearer said.

“But the photograph is pretty damning, with the truck completely on the wrong side of the road.”

By Friday evening, the investigation had been finalised and the driver dismissed.

“The view from the company was very clear that it was a very unsafe thing for the driver to do and there was no justification for it whatsoever, and he was accordingly dismissed,” Mr Shearer said.

Late last month, another Garden Grove driver was dismissed after vision emerged showing one truck dangerously overtaking another near Port Augusta.

The driver, whose dashcam captured the footage, was forced off the road to avoid a collision.

After the first incident, the managing director of Garden Grove sent a letter to all drivers to reinforce the priority placed on safety.

Drivers were told there were no timeline pressures that justify non-compliance with the law or company safety policies.

However, the TWU has called for an investigation into Garden Grove.

“Again the drivers are being punished when safety incidents are exposed, but the company now needs to be investigated,” Mr Smith said.

“We reiterate our call for a full audit of Garden Grove, involving all relevant agencies which monitor and regulate safety on the roads and at workplaces.

“The TWU has flagged up concerns it has previously dealt with among drivers over the years, such as drivers forced to work up to 17 hour days.

The company is covering up its poor safety practices and as a result experienced drivers are leaving.”

 

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© 2016 Transport Workers' Union of Australia.
Authorised by Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, 388-390 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia.