May 1, 2018


An incident in which a truck driver was killed and another man was left critically injured highlights road transport as Australia’s deadliest job, Ian Smith, TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary has said.

The incident involving a B-Double and a second truck showed the need for a solution to the crisis in trucking, he added.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends left devastated by this tragedy, which has to be fully investigated. There is a crisis in trucking with deaths from truck crashes increasing and the number of transport workers killed on the job at almost 40% of overall workplace deaths.  The Federal Government made a decision two years ago to take away scrutiny on safety risks in transport and now the rest of the community is paying the price,” said Smith.

“We know from studies and surveys that transport operators and drivers are under too much pressure yet the Government is turning away from dealing with this problem. They have allowed wealthy retailers like Aldi to continue to squeeze the transport industry with low cost contracts that mean trucks aren’t maintained and drivers and forced to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks,” Smith added.

A national survey of over 1000 truck drivers released last month showed almost 93% of drivers also say pressure on them is continuing or increasing, with drivers listing the financial squeeze from major supermarkets and manufacturers, bad roads, unsafe truck stops and unrealistic deadlines major sources of pressure.

The number of people killed in truck crashes is increasing, with a 9.2% increase in deaths nationally in the 12 months to last September, according to data from Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. A report commissioned by the Federal Government showed Orders by the road safety watchdog were cutting truck crashes by 28%.

Hundreds of drivers have held several protests over safety in the industry during the past year, highlighting the Federal Government’s shutting down of an independent watchdog investigating safety in trucking and the role played by wealthy retailer Aldi which refuses to take responsibility for safety problems in its supply chain.

In the 10 years to 2014 over 2,500 truck drivers and other road users died in truck crashes.

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