Abbott near-miss a lesson: Ryan's Freighters

Incident between truck and Tony Abbott shows road safety needs to improve, operator of the heavy vehicle involved says

By Michael House | February 18, 2010

The near-miss between a truck and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday shows more needs to be done on road safety, the company of the heavy vehicle involved says.

The driver from Ryan’s Freighters captured the attention of the country’s media yesterday when he had to take evasive action to avoid Abbott’s car, which had stopped to turn into a property on the Princes Highway.

Ryan’s Freighters General Manager Mick Boswell says the incident shows the hazards truck drivers are faced with every day.

"It’s unfortunate that it happened but as Tony Abbott said it’s really hit home to him about the hazards that are out there," Boswell says.

"I think all of us—motorists in general—need to take more care, we need to share the burdens and not contribute to them.

"It’s obvious that more needs to be done for road safety and we [truck drivers] are all aware of the hazards."

Boswell says the quick-thinking driver involved is fine and has continued with his usual duties.

"The main thing we are happy about is that no one was injured, the driver did very well," Boswell says.

"The driver did a darn good job to avoid an accident."

Boswell says the scene of the incident in Winchelsea in regional Victoria is a black spot area on the highway.

Abbott was in Winchelsea inspecting a segment of the Princes Highway when his car slowed on a blind spot to turn into a property.

A van behind Abbott’s car swerved around Abbott’s car, while the truck behind the van was forced to brake heavily and skid into the dirt.

The incident caused the vehicle to teeter and almost jack-knife.

"I've got to say, the driver did a great job in keeping his vehicle upright," Abbott told a press conference after the incident.

He used a radio interview to again praise the driver’s action, saying: "good on the truck driver for having the skills to avoid a difficult situation."

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