TWU Appeals For Vigilance After Spike In Truck Crash Deaths

Dec 23, 2015

TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 23 December 2015

The Transport Workers’ Union has appealed for vigilance and safety this Christmas period after a spike in the number of deaths in truck crashes.

Over the past five weeks, 23 people died in truck crashes while last year 18 people died during the same period. The TWU is concerned at increased pressure on truck drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines at Christmas.

“Pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip breaks at this time of year is obviously getting worse. Drivers are fatigued and stressed out and truck crashes are on the increase. For 23 families this Christmas will be horrendous,” said Michael Kaine, acting National Secretary of the TWU.

“All road users need to be aware of this deadly pressure. But I am appealing to wealthy retailers to put a stop to this pressure and to ensure their transport contracts allow for their goods to be delivered safely,” Kaine added.

Deaths over the past five weeks tragically include three people in one Queensland crash, a 15-year-old boy in a Victoria crash and six people in NSW.

The TWU is hopeful that the new year will see less pressure on trucking with a ruling last Friday from the road safety watchdog setting minimum safe rates for drivers. The ruling also means wealthy retailers and manufacturers which use transport operators will be held to account for pressures on drivers.

“This ruling is a vital step to addressing the crisis in the road transport industry and it is encouraging that many transport operators are supporting it. The criticism today by the National Road Transport Association however is disappointing and represents a disservice to its members,” said Kaine.

The 23 deaths over the past five weeks includes:

  • 9 deaths in Queensland, including three people killed in a crash between a 4WD and a truck on Gore Hwy
  • 6 deaths in NSW
  • 5 deaths in Victoria, including a 15-year-old boy died in a crash in Melbourne’s north.
  • 2 deaths in Western Australia
  • 1 death in South Australia

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