Road toll a bit high? Trucking industry report

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 10:57
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http://www.smh.com.au/national/truckies-pushed-into-danger-zone-20100108-lyvd.html
Truckies pushed into danger zone
ANDREW WEST
January 9, 2010
IT IS a statistic that will alarm police and governments dealing with a string of fatal road accidents: almost two-thirds of long-haul truck drivers interviewed for a national study say their employers pressure them into using unsafe work practices.

The study, involving more than 200 participants around the country, also found 44 per cent of drivers had been pushed into breaking the laws governing long-haul trucking, while 44 per cent also felt pressure to drive excessive hours.

The study - which comes after a series of fatal accidents over Christmas and the new year, some involving trucks - was commissioned by the Transport Workers Union and will be presented to the Safe Rates Advisory Group. The advisory group was established last month by the federal Workplace Minister, Julia Gillard, to advise the Rudd Government on pay rates in the trucking industry.

Truck drivers argue that they alone are not responsible for the death toll on the roads, which last year reached 459, up from 374 in 2008. The Federal Department of Transport also found that, in the 12 months to March last year, 228 people had died from crashes involving articulated or heavy rigid trucks.

''You have to deal with the pressure drivers, including owner-drivers, are getting from clients in the industry,'' the union's acting national secretary, Michael Kaine, told the Herald. ''Right now we have these tragic accidents involving families and it is accentuated at this [holiday] time of the year, but this is a permanent crisis in the industry.''

Under the law, drivers are not supposed to drive for more than a 12 hour-shift, unless they have completed fatigue-management training, which allows for 14-hour shifts. Drivers must take a substantial break after five hours and must have a 10-hour break between shifts.

In announcing the advisory group, which comprises union, employer and business representatives, Ms Gillard said: ''Australia's truck drivers work hard and they shouldn't have to risk dying or being injured just to make a living. This is why rates of pay, conditions and methods of payment in the transport industry must not be allowed to encourage drivers to speed, overload their trucks, drive excessive hours or skimp on vehicle maintenance.''

The study found that 56 per cent of owner-drivers were forced to lower the maintenance standards on their trucks because they could not afford to service them on the rates they were paid as subcontractors.

''We need to make the clients responsible for proper rates and conditions,'' said Mr Kaine, ''so motorists know that when a truck is approaching them, the driver is well rested.''

He said the key to changing the culture of long-haul trucking, and improving safety, was to ''address the massive economic power'' of three major companies - Coles, Woolworths and Metcash - which together control 34 per cent of the transport market and set rates, and often schedules, for truckies.

Neil Chambers, the deputy chief executive of the Victorian Transport Association, an employer organisation also represented on the Safe Rates Advisory Group, said trucking companies also wanted better conditions for drivers.

''Certainly there is government advice from experts that makes the link between [pay] rates and safety,'' he said.

One Sydney truckie who participated in the study, Walter, who asked not be identified for fear of being black-banned in the industry, said 18-hour days were common, and the 12-hour shift rule was ignored because drivers had to factor in two hours of loading time at either end of the journey.

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I am not saying it is the truckies fault but there are real problems in the whole trucking industry that need to be addressed.

Far pay and working conditions would be a start, if large companies could not screw individual truck owners on price then perhaps it would become economic to transport goods by rail rather than by road.

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Reply By: Member - Alan John C (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 11:40

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 11:40
The government need to look in own back yard competition from overseas forcing the aussie contractor to reduce cost to compete with the likes of China I sure all us in Australia can work for $10 per day then where does the economy go. I am not in the transport industry but work along side it and everyone knows that 99% of transport hauled is on time schedules not on hourly or kilometre rate it is not just the big 3 that is causing the problem and if rail is going to be the eco way of transporting someone better start building rail around our states ie WA is this going to be cost efficient bulls wool.

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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 11:53

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 11:53
Yep!

The government a few years ago spent millions of dollars trying to change how shipping cargo was loaded and unloaded on our docks when they were already very efficient by world standards.

Sadly they seemed to make no effort at all to improve rail handling and turn round times.

I wonder if industry bosses had more to do with this than good government practice supporting economic efficiency ?
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:05

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:05
I also reckon it's the demands put on the Trucking Industry to have Freight delivered ASAP, and we get used to the service they provide, I can order a Specialised Plumbing Fitting from Melbourne just after Midday on a Monday and I can pick it up from the Plumbing Store on Tuesday by 10am, and then work out the amount of Sub Freight Companies that are involved with the delivery besides the Truck that drives from Melbourne to Brisbane, then unloads the Freight, and then a Courier delivers the Item to the Store, all in that time frame.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 19:37

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 19:37
But in a sense, they have themselves to blame (or at least, their fathers!) - if they can promise something overnight knowing that they have to break laws to keep their promise whose fault is it? Sometimes the customer has to hear the answer "it can't be done".
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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:14

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:14
It makes no sense to do long haul transport via trucks. Until the is an efficient loading and unloading infrastructure rail will never compete though. Government have tried to legislate freight onto rail but that then required a massive policing cost. Most freight just went at night for about half the cost. If they put the cost of staff into infrastructure there would be no need for legislation. The government reasoning is that there is not enough freight to justify the infrastructure. A chicken and egg situation.
If you ever tried to load bales of wool into a railway truck you , like me worked out it is too hard. The rail trucks are just too small for a bale so all 200kg bales have to pushed and jumped upon to get in. Goodness how they got them out the other end.
In Canada the whole tray of the rail truck slides across onto a trailer frame behind a prime mover. It is simple and quick but does need money to initially set up.

We need to lobby for infrastructure upgrade, not legislation banning long haul trucks if we want safer roads.

Neil

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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 18:07

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 18:07
I could not agree more we had 10 years or record prosperity and gave the bonus away as short term tax cuts to people who did not need them rather than invest in infrastructure for the future.


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Reply By: Dave(NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:35

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:35
Try legislating against stupidity you might save more lives.
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Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:48

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 13:48
Over the years I have been in and out of the trucking industry and tourism industry, and one thing that is common between them as far as regulations are concerned is the requirement for frequent stops for rest.

It really is beneficial to have a rest break and get out of an air conditioned vehicle and get some fresh air and stretch the limbs to get some circulation going.

Personally, I find it better to stop about every couple of hours for a break. That helps me to overcome a bit of fatigue. I used to do about 900 kms per shift, and without those breaks who knows how many accidents I would have had, and I possibly wouldn't’t even be here worst case scenario.

Even if you are sitting at a computer all day, how many mistakes do you make if you don’t get up and move around and have a break occasionally?

Almost every truckie on the road is a professional, so would probably be doing a better job at driving than the average car driver. Just the same as a person who is a brickie or accountant would do a better job at their chosen job than the average truckie.

It is not too often that an accident only involves trucks, there is usually a car in mix somewhere. And I am not suggesting who may be at fault, but how many car drivers set off on a fairly long trip and don’t take a break regularly. Unfortunately, the fatigue factor is overlooked by many car drivers. You could read lack of concentration into that as well.

Just the fact of reading the road and trying to miss some of the atrocious cracks and potholes and broken shoulders on the roads as far ahead as you can see takes a lot of concentration, so a break every now and again is imperative.

With somewhat unachievable timetables set by some of the transport companies, and unexpected holdups along the route due to traffic conditions or weather conditions, some of the necessary breaks are either ignored or cut short.

But that is no excuse for the average motorist to not have a regular break on their trip.

Another thing that I think happens is that if a vehicle runs off the road and ends up bent around a tree or something else, quite often the resultant reason is quoted as excessive speed for the conditions. It could very well be that the driver is fatigued and is just not with it.
But it is easier to police and raise revenue from speed than it is to legislate and police fatigue.

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Follow Up By: Dunedigger - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 16:53

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 16:53
Yep . . Easy to catch speeding drivers . . . harder to detect careless drivers, and it carelessness that causes most accidents.

How do we make a careless detector as easy to operate as a radar gun ?

Dunedigger

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Follow Up By: Member - David G (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 17:04

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 17:04
Making rail more efficient means giving the road industry that services the rail container terminals permits that allows trucks to exceed their legal weight by some ten tonnes this is all done by the issue of a monthly permit fee of 30dollars magic ay this permit is not available to the normal road system. iI dont make the assertion that this extra weight makes any difference to the tragic road toll figures but it does show that governments will bend their own rules and regulations for a small fee and im sure that magic bit of permit paper makes the roads they travel on stronger etc and i can imagine the headlines if a transport operator got caught on the road somewhere with a 10ton overload when all he is doing is trying to make the imbalance in the freight rates a little better. cheers Dave
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Reply By: Ozboc - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 19:48

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 19:48
I would just like to have a say to an encounter i had a few weeks back .... NOT sure if its the same guy that was involved in the fatality at batemans bay .. but to me the truck looked similar ....


was traveling south bound near Tilba ( north of Bega ) i had a B- double fly past me - trailer was a good foot over the center line and forced me to just about hit the guard rail to avoid a head on collision .... i had the financial controller in front ... and 3 kids in back girl aged 6 - boys 8, 10 ( totally oblivious as to what happened thanks to there d.s games )

I jump on the cb - chan 40 and say " Mate next time try to stay on your side of the road -- you almost took out my family ...... "

I get a reply about 3 seconds later ..... " well sorry about that " -- and it was the most sarcastic reply i have ever had on a CB ...... if i was to write it phonetically it would be ..... weeelll sooRRRYYYY abbbooouuuuutttt that ! "

clearly does not give a ^%^%$ about anyone but himself .. where it happen was the 80 KM section . and he was CLEARLY doing well in excess of that ....

am i surprised about the recent deaths involving " steering wheel attendants" ..

No i am not ...

Boc
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 19:59

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 19:59
You should have rang the company and complained about his driving. How do you know if he was going over 80 if you were going the other way?
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Follow Up By: Ozboc - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 23:28

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 23:28
how do i know he was doing over 80 ?

when other pass by they have a certain rate of movement that is easily judged by years of driving experience of passing other motorists in various speed limited areas

when a truck passes you that is nothing more than a blur and HAS TO cut a corner in order to make the corner without regards to the tracking of the following trailer , its easy to ascertain the the speed is well in excess of others traveling the same road as the b double, has taken the same amount of time to entirely pass you as a standard car

This is how ...... if i was to pass you on my roadbike doing 80 - then 120 you would certainly know the difference and the motorcycle is much small in size comparison ...

Boc
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:16

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:16
Like I said if you are sure he was speeding and driving dangerously you should have rang the company and reported it.
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Follow Up By: Ozboc - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:51

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:51
yes but when you meet on a corner you have less than 1 second to go into self preservation mode and take action - all you see if a BLUR of truck inches from your head - No time to find a company logo and phone number - i was also towing my LARGE pantec double axle trailer so was not possible to uturn to give chase to find details ...

Boc
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:51

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:51
I just thought you said it was the same company that had the accident up the coast, so just thought you should have reported it.
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Follow Up By: Ozboc - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:55

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:55
My original post says that the truck looked similar to the one invloved at BB but i was not sure .. ... no point making a report unless i was 100 % sure
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 15:07

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 15:07
yeah no worry's, I know the State Manager of that company and they are a large company & very safety orientated and will check out any complaints about bad behaver.
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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:04

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:04
Hi Boc, I think its a steering Wheel Technician. All the same not a nice thing to experience.
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Follow Up By: Karen & Geoff - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:40

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:40
The "so called Company" of the driver who had the accident down at Batemans Bay was not in the wrong. It has now come out (and police verified) that a blue 4wd was overtaking on the wrong side of the road on a bend, when David (yes the poor tanker driver) came round the corner. When David tried to swerve to avoid a head on with the 4wd, he clipped the embankment on the left and this has tipped him over, hence spearing all the cars of the road.

Yes a tragic accident, but why have the papers not run with this. No, instead we will just leave the head lines as is, and that way the truckie looks like it was his fault. Police have said they had reports about this blue 4wd driving madly before the accident happened. No matter which way David would have gone, head on with the 4wd, or the the way it turned out, David would have been in the wrong and the everyone would have still been screaming about truckies and their radical driving.

I dont believe how much everyone is a perfect driver and only the truckies aresuch bad drivers. My hubby does approx 300,000 k's a year with dangerous goods on, and he is not a perfect driver. But I think with that amount of k's they are going to make some mistakes, but believe you me, they dont do it on purpose. A bit different to drivers who bag truckies out that only do 30,000k's a year.

I say stop all trucks for 2 weeks over Easter and lets see if we have a zero road toll, bet we dont. Dave you might know the State Manager well, but if he discusses any complaints with any one, he is also breaching the companies policies and procedures. We work for the same company and I would not be happy at all if I found out he had been discussing our issues with anyone outside the company. Yes they are safety aware, but accidents happen.

I will now get off my high horse, and I wish everyone would stop hanging crap on the truckies. Get out there in a cab for 2 days like our local memeber has just done and see what they put up with from car and 4wd owners. You dont see them on a forum bagging everyone out.

Karen
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:23

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:23
Karen,
Who said he would discuss any thing to anyone, All I said was If Ozboc had a genuine complaint about a particular company Quote: ( I would just like to have a say to an encounter i had a few weeks back .... NOT sure if its the same guy that was involved in the fatality at batemans bay .. but to me the truck looked similar .... ) Which it turns out he now doesn't know Quote: (My original post says that the truck looked similar to the one invloved at BB but i was not sure .. ... no point making a report unless i was 100 % sure ) instead of puting it on a forum he is better ringing the manager to complain. I to have carted DG for over 30 years and about 10 years of that was down the south coast, so I know how hard it is.
Cheers Dave...
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Follow Up By: Karen & Geoff - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:53

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:53
Hi Dave, It really upsets me, and I normally just sit back and read everyones comments and let it go by, when as soon as there is a truck accident, everyone has to bag them out. As you said in your post.............."and will check out any complaints about bad behaver."

BUT

Now I have come back to earth, it read like................you would check out any complaints about bad behaviour. And I am thinking what has it got to do with you!

Dave, you say you have carted DG for 30 years, so surely you must get your back up a bit about everyone bagging out the truckies. You know what the boys put up with out there, and sometimes it is just not fair on the truckies. Yes I know some of them give the car drivers a bit of a hard time, and sometimes they deserve it, but no truckie goes out and kills someone on purpose.

I just want to see half of these car drivers get ina truck and do the miles the boys do and not make one mistake. Like Dave, he was forced into that mistake by trying to avoid a head on with the car in the wrong.

Karen
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Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 20:21

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 20:21
"You dont see them on a forum bagging everyone out."
No, but you hear plenty of 'em on CH40! :-)

Yes, the media in recent weeks has painted perhaps an unfair view of truckies in order to "push their particular barrow" but since when was media fair to their targets/victims? But their view can gain widespread community agreement because nearly everyone in the community has at least one story similar to Ozboc's. Yes, there are cowboys amongst the truckies too Karen, just as there are cowboys amongst the 4WDers, hatchback drivers, sedan drivers, and any other drivers. Yes, I can understand the frustrations that come with being a truck driver and having to put up with the antics of other drivers all day everyday (name a job that DOESN'T have people who seem like they're just out to make that job difficult?!) but part of being a good driver is accepting that and adjusting for it as part of driving. I'd expect rogue truckies are in the minority, but guess which ones the average motorise will remember and talk about? Probably the one that nearly killed them, and they'll forget that 99 "Geoff's" that passed by without incident.

"Yes I know some of them give the car drivers a bit of a hard time, and sometimes they deserve it"
Emphatically NO: it's not for truckies to throw their weight/size around to take 'revenge' on other motorists (and an argument like that is not likely to gain much sympathy for truckies) - if the truckies have a problem with another driver's behaviour, it should be reported to the Police - it is not acceptable for truckies to 'bully' other motorists just because they can, or feel (in their opinion) that it's deserved. And yes, I do drive heavy vehicles so I see a bit of what the truckies have to put up with.

"but no truckie goes out and kills someone on purpose"
And you could probably argue that no motorist goes out and kills someone on purpose but people still die through recklessness or carelessness. Do you really think the driver of that blue 4WD near Batemans Bay deliberately set out to kill a few people? Deliberate or reckless, the result was tragically the same.

"I just want to see half of these car drivers get in a truck ... "
I think that would be invaluable, even if they went as an observing passenger - I still remember (early in my driving days) the first time I was was a passenger in a MR truck and seeing just how much room was needed to get that thing around corners and round-abouts. I vowed to give large vehicles plenty of space after that!

"he was forced into that mistake by trying to avoid a head on with the car in the wrong."
Again, I'd disagree - the truckie in that incident doesn't appear to have been forced into a 'mistake' but an impossible (no win) situation with a split second to decide and act.
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Reply By: nowimnumberone - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 20:20

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 20:20
slightly off topic but the tuesday after christmas we had a taxi come in for some tyres.every time we fit some tyres we give the car a basic check over brakes/suspention/front end components/exhaust etc. anyway this taxi( ba )had a worn out ball joint(very very common on ba/bf)i told the driver this is the worst ball joint ive seen(ive replaced heaps)and he really shouldnt be driving it unless he has no intention of seeing in the new year or worst case someone inocent not seeing it.he rang his boss while he was there telling him how bad it was and his boss said my mechanic isnt back till after the new years ill get it done then.of he went.later that day the police came in for tyres and i told the guy the rego and just how bad it was.call me a dober/whinger grumpy old man i dont care my wife and kids travel these roads.but it worked he came in for a a ball joint and wheel alignment the following morning seems the police did a random check and got him.it was a case of she will be right mate attitude that i thing is one of the problems
cheers
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 20:35

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 20:35
well done I would have done the same thing

I have done similar in the past usually cars with totally bald tyres.


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Reply By: Shaker - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 23:35

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 23:35
Didn't the driver of a B-Double fall asleep a couple of days ago & drive off an overpass, very, very lucky, could have killed a lot of people.
Now they are talking about B-triples .. God help us.
We don't need trains on the road, bring back the rail network asap!
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Reply By: Karen & Geoff - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:41

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:41
We as the owner of a transport company, yes with trucks on the roads, would like to see every truck off the road over the Easter holidays for 3 weeks. Every single truck off the road for 3 weeks..............

Then see what the Easter road toll will be, bet you it is not "zero". And it will make people see that, yes every body is screaming to do all freight by rail. But how do you get the freight to the train with out trucks. How do they get the servo's filled up with a train? There isn't a railway line that goes into a servo in Australia that we have seen.

The last 5 head on's with trucks have not been their fault. It has been the car driver falling asleep, and if that poor truckie had not of been there for the car to go under, he would have kept going and hit the tree on the other side.

Imagine the chaos of the country if the truckies stopped for 3 weeks over the Easter break. And then all the trees would have to be cut down, because they would be the killers of head on's not, the trucks. I think it is all about people being educated about driving and not trying to drive from Melbourne to Sydney in one go when you only do it once a year.

Anyway, nothing will ever stop the road toll, sadly.
Karen
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:52

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 13:52
The idea is that trains replace trucks on long haul runs between cities then trucks do the short haul between rail heads and delivery points.

It would not remove trucks but make the distances traveled shorter.

I am not 100% certain but I heard a report that the family killed in NSW in a collision with a fuel tanker the burned the tanker rolled on a bend crushing the oncoming car.

Perhaps someone has more details about this?
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Follow Up By: Karen & Geoff - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:03

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:03
Hi Doug. The tanker that rolled and killed the family, the police are now looking for a blue 4wd who was overtaking all the cars that David (the tanker driver) speared off the road. The blue 4wd was overtaking and as David came round the corner and saw the 4WD in his lane, he swerved to the left, hit the embankment and this has flipped him over. Hence why he was on his side and was spearing all the cars off the road. There have been alot of witnesses come forward and report this blue 4wd overtaking and driving dangerously well before the accident. There has been witnesses come forward and say that the blue 4wd was overtaking on the bend when the accident happened. David had no where else to go. David was alive and trapped in the truck when it caught fire, and no one could get him out. The car with the family in it was on fire before the truck caught fire.

The police had had phone calls about this blue 4wd before the accident happened, about the manner of the driving.

It was a sad sad accident.

Karen
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:29

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:29
Thanks I hope they find him, or her.
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:54

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 14:54
Perhaps we should ban all 4wds off the road.
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 15:08

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 15:08
No but I do think if people needed to pass a simple 4 wd driving test we would get at least 80% of the 4x4 mum's taxies off the roads and the Australian made large cars and station wagons would increase in sales immediately
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 16:28

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 16:28
D200Dug,
You'r probably right about the test thing, It just amazes me that out of about 5 accidents involving trucks one was in the wrong and fell asleep (how many car drivers do this) and dropped over a bridge on to another road. Thats one in five but everyone suddenly wants to ban trucks off the road. If you read other forums including some 4WD forums you will see a lot of complaints about 4wd's tailgating, speeding and generally harassing other drivers, There are idiots in every part of the community including the one who did a U turn on the freeway yesterday. unfortunately you cant legislate against stupidity so accidents and loss of live will keep happening.
Cheers Dave..
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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:17

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 17:17
Hey Karen your right. My father has said for years when this issue comes up every Christmas. " Bring it on every truck stop for one week and see the wingers realy winge". I grew up with trucks and married a truck driver. Evertime there is a crash I feel sick inside wandering if its them. People should get off their high horses and have a dig at the office twits that only drive to work and home each day. Then they take their annual leave and think a 8hr drive is easy. It isn't. I've tried it. Truck drivers are use to it more than the rest of us. Sure some get a bit cranky but that's usually because the above said cut them off before hand. Could go on and on. By the way not all transport operators push their drivers.
Sharon
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Reply By: Member - Barry (NT) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:49

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:49
I don't believe for one minute we could not have efficient loading/unloading of trains. It can be done with containers, pans or whatever and forked onto the trains.

We did this in the early 70's with freight to Tassie (which I used to load part time at night) and loaded 40foot pans which went straight to the wharf. We also loaded flat bed mesh sided "containers that were tarped down and straight to the wharf.

The process is simple (the solution is not) but there needs to be the will to:

- invest in infrastructure and rolling stock to sped up the whole system
- change the mindset of and consumers
- go back to holding more stock locally and regionally rather than a single national warehouse

Look at the Darwin freight situation - road trains went back on the road to "fill" the gap when rail couldn't deliver some items quick enough - an admission by rail they can't deliver at this time.

Now the Darwin freight can't get through on the train as the line is closed North of Alice Springs.

This like the water situation we need a national body (al be it MUCH BETTER THAN THE CURRENT WATER SHAMBLES WE HAVE CREATED)

unfortunately we get the pollies we deserve because we (including me) don't kick up enough fuss and minority groups have the pollies ears

my 2 cents worth as we sit on the Murray River at Renmark 42C and river not flowing and awful colour compared to 30 years ago.
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