Operation StateTrans Finds Major Flaws In Trucking Fleets While Government Abolishes Road Safety Laws

May 11, 2016


Transport Workers Union NSW Acting Secretary Richard Olsen has slammed the Federal Government for standing in the way of safe rates for truck drivers and their families as a major police operation in NSW found serious problems with maintenance and drugs in trucking fleets right across the supply chain.

Mr Olsen was speaking after the NSW authorities released details on Operation StateTrans. Authorities encountered 1,609 truck defects, including 66 tampered or non-compliant engine control modules and 12 positive drug tests.

“No truckie wants to drive a rig that hasn’t been properly maintained, break the law or use drugs to keep going – but relentless pressure from clients leave some with no choice,” Mr Olsen said.

“When drivers are not paid a safe rate by transport clients some are forced to bend or even break the rules to continue to support their family.

“But instead of attempting to lift the pressure on truck drivers, the Federal Government has sided with the big transport clients to abolish laws designed to lift the economic pressure on truck drivers.”

Third generation Owner Driver Dave Wojcik said that heavy economic pressure from major transport clients were crushing too many truck drivers.

“I’m lucky enough to earn a decent rate for my work that allows me to maintain my truck and support my family, but every day I pass tired and stressed truck drivers who are driving rigs that are not properly maintained because of the pressure from major clients,” Mr Wojcik said.

Mr Olsen said that there was more than 20 years* of independent evidence, coroners’ reports and cross-parliamentary inquiries establishing the link between pay rates for truck drivers and safety outcomes on our roads.

“At the TWU we do not condone anyone that breaks the law, but we will never address the systemic problems in the industry if we only target the drivers,” Mr Olsen said.

“When truck drivers are not paid a Safe Rate they are left with no choice but to skip maintenance, speed and drive while fatigued, or risk not being able to keep a roof over their families’ heads.

“Money that should be going to truck drivers to help them maintain their vehicles and sustain their families is instead going into the pockets of the big business clients as bonuses for driving down transport costs.

“We will be bringing the message about the damaging impact of the Federal Government’s attack on truck drivers into marginal seats across NSW and the ACT between now and July 2.”

*There is more than two decades of research establishing the link between rates of pay and safety on our roads – this was recently fact checked by https://theconversation.com/factcheck-do-better-pay-rates-for-truck-drivers-improve-safety-57639

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