June 28, 2011
Many truck drivers are fed up dealing with the dangerous practices of motorists on NSW roads, prompting calls for greater education within communities about heavy vehicles.
A survey of 320 drivers commissioned by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and NRMA has found that almost 40 percent of respondents listed motorists pulling out in front of them suddenly as their primary concern while on the road.
Another 29 percent cited motorists speeding to try and overtake trucks as soon as the opportunity arises, with 10 percent listing motorists’ disobeying road rules as their major gripe.
According to the online survey, launched earlier this month, almost 70 percent of heavy vehicle drivers believe greater education in communities is needed to ensure motorists share the roads with trucks.
Calling the survey a rare insight into the challenges faced by truck drivers, NRMA President Wendy Machin says more education should be provided to motorists about sharing the road safely.
The survey also quizzed drivers on fatigue, rest areas and compliance and enforcement.
TWU NSW Secretary Wayne Forno has leapt on the finding that more than two-thirds of respondents had driven despite being tired.
“What concerns me about these survey results is that over two thirds of truck drivers are driving when tired and over one third of those say pressure to meet delivery deadlines is forcing them to do it,” Forno says.
He has blamed economic pressure from large companies for the problem and has reiterated the union’s push for a mandatory safe rates scheme.
“Overworking and falling asleep at your desk won’t kill you: fall asleep behind the wheel of a fully loaded truck going down the freeway at 100km/h and it’s a different story,” Forno says.
The survey found that a majority of truck drivers were dissatisfied with the state of NSW road infrastructure, with 75 percent describing rest areas as inadequate and scarce and 70 percent saying roads are not good enough for heavy vehicles.
Sixty percent of the drivers surveyed called for government to widen roads.
“The government needs to invest more money into rest areas and listen to truck drivers when they say the facilities are inadequate and in short supply,” Machin says.
She says the road network must be improved to cope with the growth in heavy vehicles and cars, describing it as failing to meet safety standards that prevent crashes.
A majority of respondents (52 percent) want a motorway connection built between the F3 Freeway and the M2 motorway within the next four years. Thirty-five percent listed the Pacific Highway as a priority for investment.
Almost all respondents (90 percent) reported congestion as a problem in delivering freight on time, while 85 percent believe more bypasses are needed to divert heavy vehicles away from major towns.
There are also grumblings about the use of point-to-point speed cameras.
According to the survey, 64 percent believe the units have not improved road safety in NSW and 35 percent do not support the cameras being applied to trucks.
What have you experienced sharing the road with motorists? Do you agree with the survey’s findings? Have your say below.