Jul 26, 2018

TWU SA/NT Branch Media Release, 26 July 2018

The Transport Workers’ Union has criticised the targeting of truck drivers after police defected 39 heavy vehicles and reported several drivers on SA roads over a three-week period.

Drivers were caught speeding, breaching load regulations and working long hours. Trucks were also found to be uninsured and unregistered.

“We know that drivers are targeted over ridiculous things, like not displaying the correct registration label, when being on the road for weeks on end often means they have not had the chance to get home and get the new label. But we also know that working beyond regulated hours and speeding to make an unrealistic deadline is something drivers do not have control over. They are simply put under too much pressure,” said Ian Smith, TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary.

“If the aim is to tackle the high number of truck crashes, and deaths and injuries in trucking then the companies at the top need to also be targeted. Wealthy retailers and manufacturers continually put pressure on drivers and transport operators through their low cost contracts. It means drivers are forced to speed, work long hours and skip rest breaks just to get the job done. Drivers do not have the power to change this dynamic. What we need is for the Federal Government to hold the likes of Aldi to account and to introduce an independent watchdog capable of scrutinising safety right through the transport supply chain,” he added.

Truck drivers have held several protests over the past year calling for the Federal Government to address the high number of deaths in the industry and low rates. Just this month, over 300 drivers took part in coordinated convoys in all major capitals, including Adelaide.

In 2016 the Turnbull Government abolished a road safety watchdog that was investigating safety in trucking. This is despite their own report finding that truck crashes had been reduced by 28%. Since the watchdog was abolished almost 400 people have died in truck crashes and nothing has been put in its place to address the issue.

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