posible fuel shortages

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 15:12
ThreadID: 104637 Views:1639 Replies:6 FollowUps:27
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in our local paper here in Broken Hill there is a warning about some possible fuel shortages due to the police blitz on trucks in Sydney after the tragic accident last week.


That is fine but what shocked me is the number of trucks put off the road why are the companies allowing trucks that are not roadworthy out on the road

Is it not the responsibility of a trucking company that is carrying some thing as dangerous as fuel to make sure that truck is road worthy and safe.

what about the numerous truck carrying explosives that come through broken hill are they road worthy .


I can only say that they are penny pinching and safety is not considered not sure what to think.




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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:03

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:03
Tragic it was, but could the road authorities be over-reacting, by design ? The breaches found may be technical, but might be practically trivial - I haven't seen any detail yet. On ABC radio this am, a bloke from the transport workers union said Cootes do have a solid reputation for professionalism in the industry. As usual, Joe Public probably won't know what really happened until the coroner reports (in a couple of years).
AnswerID: 519385

Reply By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:09

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:09
No, not really...The company only needs to get the annual check for rego. If the vehicle is roadworthy at that time, then they have met their obligation.

The individual drivers are responsible for ensuring the vehicle they are driving is roadworthy before they drive it...Just like any other driver is.

How many times have you seen someone just get into a car and drive away? You might even do that yourself... You will almost never see someone do even at least a walk around.

Sure the company might be liable and held to account...and so they should be...But the driver is the last check point that ultimately says whether the truck goes on the road or not...I for one, would not drive a truck if I found a pre-drive fault and the owner wanted to penny pinch and not fix it. But a lot of drivers have kids to feed and rent to pay and they are not willing to upset the boss... What they fail to see, is that they have the say as to whether or not that truck goes out, not the boss !
AnswerID: 519386

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 23:01

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 23:01
Sorry mate but saying the driver is responsible for the condition of the truck is 100% pure wrong.

Fisrtly the driver is neither qualified nor properly resourced to assess the condition of the vehicle.

Many large trucking companies specifically forbid drivers from so much as opening the bonnet. Fluid levels and much of the prestart check list are done by mechanical staff.

Secondly under the "Chain of responsibility legeslation" the responsibility for the condition of the vehicle lays squarely at the feet of the company or individual operating the truck as a business.

In many cases if the truck gets pulled up and breached for a wide variety of offences, the driver will walk away scott free but the trucking company will bear the heavy penalties.

Current and continuing transport reforms place the responsibility for a great many things squarely and firmly at the feet of the transport company.

AND

There have been several very high profile court cases that have tested and proven this fact.

cheers
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:16

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:16
You are totally correct Bantam but under the law the buck does stop with the driver - it is their responsibility. In taking action against a driver the authorities may very well also implicate the owner/trucking company but the buck does stop with the driver - but I agree, if the truck steers, stops and lights work when the driver gets in, how can the driver be responsible for say a developing break issue that is not obvious to a casual glance or use - until maybe too late.

Drivers are in many cases on a hiding to nothing - but them many deserve what they get.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:18

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:18
Further, Maybe a regulated system like what is used in the aircraft industry where the mechanical state is signed off by a competent person to do so and they have responsibility for the vehicle not the user.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 19:32

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 19:32
Sorry mate but under the current regualatory system the buck certainly does not stop with the driver, rolls on both up and down the whole "chain of responsibility".

The driver is only responsible for what they reasonably could be expected to know or observe....actually in practice a hell of a lot less than than most people would consider reasonable.

A driver is only reasonably expected to do a pre start check and observe what would be obvious by looking at the vehicle and driving it.

The driver is not qualified to pass judgement on the vast majority of the mechanical condition of the vehicle.

There are a couple of very promient cases where there have been signifcant accidents and the driver has been given fairly modest fines & loss of demerit points while both the transport company who sent the driver and the consignor who loaded the vehicle have been given very large fines and required to pay repair and restitution.

If the driver was not correctly instructed..he is not at fault.
If the driver was not appropriatly experienced or licenced..he is not at fault.
If the driver was not sent properly equipped...he is not at fault
If the vehicle is inadequate or inappropriate..he is not at fault

IF the vehicle in not in an adequate state of repair...that is neither the driver's fault or responsibility.

If you doubt me....google up " chain of responsibility legeslation" and read the law in question.....if you are in the chain anywhere and you are other then pedantic about complinace.....be afraid be very afraid.

cheers
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:30

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:30
Its sounds bad alliem - but I have seen this before -how many are really unroadworthy and how many are nominally so - it might take months to find out both that and the root cause of the accident. (I watch to many Aircraft Accident Investigation shows)

As for fuel shortages - Act Fast Act First.
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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:46

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:46
Some of the road worthy complaints are pedantic. I have seen Road trains being pulled up, and booked, after about 5 klm of road works for dirty rear number plates on the prime mover. Any unsealed road will make a number plate dirty and unreadable. You can't see the number plate on the rear of the prime mover because of the trailer , unless you have just been run over. I understand the reason for legable number plates but surely there must be a common sence approach.

Neil
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Follow Up By: allein m - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:54

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 16:54
yes that is being pedantic but they are saying in this new report that fuel truck have to given work orders

the questions is are the small problems or have we got road trains carrying fuel with faulty suspension of brakes some thing that could cause the truck to crash with a load of fuel

that would be a very sad event

I have no idea what to think are trucks delivering fuel a danger to the general public or should I say is there a greater risk of accident due to bad maintenance,

yes there are risks carrying fuel but why make that worse by putting a roadworthy truck on the road
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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:29

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:29
I agree allein m.
we may never know, unless the press get interested enough after coroners report.

Neil
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:54

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:54
Yes. That does sound a bit pedantic. I do not disagree.

However, if you were to drive through, say a river crossing or some other road condition that might affect your vehicle, would you not stop and at least do a walk around?

These are professional drivers. If he just drove through dusty road works, he should or ought to know that his lights and number plate etc might now be covered in dust and not visible.

Pedantic? Maybe. But at the end of the day, no one has rights on the road...They only have obligations and responsibilities. The driver is responsible...not the river nor the dust nor the road worker that caused the dust...
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Follow Up By: allein m - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:00

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:00
These are professional drivers I totally agree so why drive a un- roadworthy truck .

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Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:18

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:18
See my previous post...They have kids to feed and rent to pay !!

And for that reason the news people (media) will throw it all back on the company...
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Follow Up By: allein m - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:32

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:32
See my previous post...They have kids to feed and rent to pay

yes but at what point does the driver say no this truck is 100percent faulty and should not be on the road

can the truck driver feed his kids and pay rent if he or she is in prison for 10 or so year for vehicular manslaughter

I totally agree and understand it is a hard life driving a large truck day in day out and being away from your family ect







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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:48

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 17:48
Allein - It doesn't say much for the annual inspection process - or for the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme - or for highway spot inspections for commercial vehicles, does it? - that a big fuel-hauling company like Cootes, is suddenly found to have trucks with major defects galore!
I wonder who was getting paid off to look the other way? Lucky this mob weren't flying planes!
AnswerID: 519399

Follow Up By: allein m - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:06

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:06
I wonder who was getting paid off to look the other way

I smell a huge rat

my car failed rego this year because the rear plastic door handle was broken but no one uses the door I broke the drivers door and just swapped them over no one was selling them here in Broken hill

i got one from Adelaide $75

they were just doing there job according to the rules and i accept that but I wonder who is passing all these trucks to drive
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:13

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:13
I do not disagree...

I have not read the news reports. I did hear the news on the radio about the crash...But I try to avoid news if I can...It makes me break out in a rash..

If they were flying planes, the pilot and crew would be doing pre take off checks...True? A plane only takes off once the pilot is happy that all is well...True? The final word for Go comes down to the pilot.

So too with trucks...The driver has the last (and maybe only say) as to whether or not that truck goes on the road. If there are major faults, then the driver should see them before take off...Unless they are not capable in which case they should not be driving a truck to start with.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:21

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:21
Well, with the Accreditation Scheme, the companys mechanics are supposed to pass a regular audit to ensure that their maintenance procedures meet the same standards required to pass vehicle inspection for rego.

It appears that the Scheme has a lot of holes in it, and someone wasn't doing the necessary level of auditing - or the mechanics were cheating the system.

There are reports that the fuel truck that crashed, suffered a mechanical failure as it went around the roundabout. Something fractured or broke and it resulted in the trailer rolling over. It's also possible the driver was travelling around the roundabout too fast.

We have dozens of truck rollovers here in the West every year - and they can nearly always be put down to 2 things - the driver went to sleep and ran off the road - or he went around a corner too fast.

We only rarely have truck crashes caused by mechanical failure.
I can only recall a couple of them in the last 4 or 5 yrs - and they were both drawbar failures on dog trailers. Once again, (maintenance) failure to check for cracking was the problem there.

We had one fuel truck rollover as it left the BP depot here. It had just fueled up and was chocko full of fuel. As the driver wheeled out the driveway, all the bolts holding the turntable broke off, and the trailer rolled right over. Luckily, there was no fire.
Inspection afterwards found all the bolts in the turntable were a lower grade than specified (lower tensile strength).

The DOT did a big check of all the truck turntables afterwards (starting with all the fuel tankers) to check turntable bolts.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:33

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 18:33
Herbal, there's only so much a driver can do in the time constraints he's given. Before you take off, do you get under your car and check for loose suspension fasteners? - uni-joint U-bolt tightness? - brake lines chafing? - etc, etc, ad infinitum?

No, of course not - just the same as pilots don't check to see the bolts holding the flaps or elevators are tight, or whether there's cracks in a wing spar.

That's what fitters and mechanics and LAME's are paid to do. A pilot does a quick walk around to check for any glaringly obvious faults such as a panel cover not fastened correctly - and then does preflight checks in the cabin to ensure all controls are working and that no locks have been left in place.
He's totally reliant on the blokes wielding spanners to have done the right thing, and that they have been properly supervised, and their handiwork checked.

A truck driver is capable of checking for loose wheelnuts, leaks, loose bolts, or leaking hoses - but he can't be expected to find cracked torque arms, loose wheel bearings, cracked uni-joint yokes or faulty/failing airbags - or even worse, poor or faulty reassembly by mechanics.
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:16

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:16
Yep...no argument from me...

No matter how hard we try, mechanical failure is the risk we take.

I was once lifting a 3 tone load with a Hiab. The locking pins on the outriggers got cut like a knife through warm butter. The Hiab was rated to about 15t or something like that...Like always, I had checked and double checked everything before the lift...But no one could have predicted that lifting at just that right angle with just that right reach with just that right weight would cut straight through 1 inch high tensile steel pins...and the house owner was just as amused or bemused as I was to have my 8 tonne truck laying on it's side in her front yard :)

As you say...It is nearly always the driver went to sleep or was going to fast.

Sure, things can go wrong. The company and the driver may not be aware of a problem until it happens...The pilot might not know about a cracked fuel tank and the xray might not have shown it...Sure, that happens...But to go off and start pointing fingers trying to find someone to blame also happens...

Maybe no one is to blame...

Maybe it is just like my outrigger pins.

Is it fair to stop and check all trucks in light of this...Yeah sure it is. It might be a knee jerk reaction...But I would rather read about some trucker getting booked for having mud and dust covering his numberplate and lights, than I would read about a kid getting killed because lights of the truck could not be seen.
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FollowupID: 799510

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 21:09

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 21:09
"No matter how hard we try, mechanical failure is the risk we take."

Don't disagree, however if those failures are preventable, then it was a risk the 2 people who died at Mona Vale weren't prepared to take.

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FollowupID: 799535

Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 22:28

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 22:28
I beg to differ Scott.

We all take a risk to find out if the failures are preventable...

No disrespect and I can only offer my utmost sympathies to the loved ones of those lost... Their passing may not be with out learning and betterment.

Already, their passing has spurred argument and debate. And that can only make failures more preventable.

If someone had have said 'I don't like the sound of that' or 'I think my speed is to fast' or 'that clunk is something that should be checked' or 'I am not sure about this truck' or...or....or....'hey mate, I am not sure about this can you take a look at it for me'....

....Then we may not be losing people on our quest.

Today, I drove to Nowra. I watched and counted how many times the car in front of me crossed the double lines...Total = 57 times !! 57 times the white Toyota 4WD in front of me crossed double lines into the oncoming lane....and it's only 18km to Nowra....Those lines are not there to make Dulux rich!

Is it preventable ?
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Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 12:00

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 12:00
sounds like the driver tired and needs to pull over or just a bad driver


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FollowupID: 799562

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:35

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:35
Herbal, I'm not sure whether we're agreeing or disagreeing :-)

It's not clear what the cause of this accident was and it's to be determined (which BTW happened not far from where I live....), however most of the witness statements indicated the tanker was out of control BEFORE it got to the round-about. There may be reasons to find it wasn't vehicle or component failure, yet the initial indications show it as a likely cause.

Given this, and given people died and were injured, I think it isn't unreasonable for the regulatory bodies to conduct a detailed and exhaustive review of the maintenance practices of this company. If this means inconvenience to Joe public - so be it.

"Their passing may not be with out learning and betterment." - I think we'd all agree with that.


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FollowupID: 799574

Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:40

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:40
"Their passing may not be with out learning and betterment." - I think we'd all agree with that.

well i totally agree with that .

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Follow Up By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:54

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:54
Don't worry Scott...All is good. We do not disagree :)

The point I was implying was that we all are taking risk and we do that knowing there is a risk.

Think of the space shuttle for example...or in fact the entire space business...Every person involved knows there is a risk...Is a space shuttle blowing up preventable? No, of course not. But we take the risk because the end result will be good.

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Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:09

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:09
8 trucks were taken off the road with major defects.
The rest are still on the road, or at least will be, when repairs are done. Many minor ones like a blown globe can be fixed quickly. Others like brakes, a little more time.
As an ex driver, I would not have had a clue on many things. Sure. A visuale check would reveal tyres worn, or globes blown, but there are many other things drivers do not pick up on. Drivers are not mechanics.

Daily Telegraph had a break down on the defects


Coming through Yass Sunday afternoon, the big servo on the highway was already low on fuel, with many pumps closed. They were waiting on fuel from Queensland.

Also at this servo, I noticed a 3cent difference in diesel at the car side compared to the truck side.
AnswerID: 519405

Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:43

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 19:43
To true, drivers are not mechanics...

I do not know what is involved in getting a truck licence in civvy street. I got mine in the Army.

What I see as basic truck skills is alien to many "truckers" I have spoken with over the years.

Maybe some basic mechanic lessons should be included in the licence process? It would at least give the professional driver a base to work on when looking for potential problems?

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 23:17

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 at 23:17
As I have menioned earlier, many truucking companies specifically do not want their drivers to have any mechanical knoweledge.

They do not want their divers touching anything mechanical.

Quite a few trucking companies will not even permit the drivers to change a tyre.....if there is a flat that can not be driven back to base they send out a tyre service.......If they can find a tyre service that has an ohs polocy that allows them to change a tyre by the roadside.

Even the replacing of tyres is an issue.......I am no longer a skinny as I was as a youth.....but I still have barely enough weight to properly torque truck wheel nuts.

Many truck drivers these days would have neither the strength or weight to either remove a wheel nut or adequately retorque it.

In many situations drivers do just that and no more.
Many neither load the vehicle or restrain the load, the vehicle my be loaded, straped, hitched and prestart checked, ready to go when the driver arrives for work.

Times have changed.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:45

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:45
You state that eight (8) trucks have been taken off the road OK.

Why then is every state, city and country town having a "shortage of fuel".
It appears that Cootes were the only fuel carters in Australia ?????

PeterH
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Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:41

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:41
there may be more trucks I am only relying on on line news reports
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Follow Up By: SDG - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 17:55

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 17:55
read in the paper today that it was 8 in NSW. Vic apparently had a few more, but can't remember the number.

Lartely every time I have been reading the paper, there seems to be a different story about this subject.
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Reply By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 12:10

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 12:10
Inspector from Roads and Maritime Services inspected more than 80 Cootes Transport trucks at checking stations in Sydney and Newcastle late this afternoon.

The company has been issued with 26 defect notices and 12 trucks have been taken off the road.

still would like to know how serious the defect s were

thank you for replying it will be some time before we know all of the truth about this accident with any luck some people who are responsible for the inspection and maintenance of large trucks throughout Australia may improve there work practices so that this does not happen again

I really do feel for the poor people who have gone to work like they do each day and not returned home I am sure it will not be a happy Christmas in those home this year

my condolences to all those involved
AnswerID: 519446

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