Baillieu hits back on truck exclusion lane decision

Victorian Opposition Ted Baillieu says the “choice of roads” to be included in the new truck exclusion lane policy are a “recipe for disaster”

By Samantha Freestone | March 4, 2010

Victorian Opposition Ted Baillieu says the "choice of roads" to be included in the new truck exclusion lane policy are a "recipe for disaster".

His comments follow the announcement by Minister for Roads and Ports Tim Pallas yesterday morning that sees "heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes" excluded from driving in right-hand lanes on multi-lane freeways from July this year.

"My understanding is the Government here in Victoria promised to trial this system.

"It is unclear whether they have done that, certainly we’re unaware that they have, and if this system was to be introduced you’d like to think that it was introduced on the basis of some information, some hard information, rather than just a knee-jerk decision," Baillieu says.

"What is also ... an issue is that the choice of roads on which this will apply are narrow –and that’s a recipe for confusion.

"Confusion leads to risk, and risk leads to accidents, and I think road users would be rightly confused about what is intended here, and where trucks will be limited to the left hand lanes."

A spokesperson for Pallas says although the new decision will not include a trial phase, it is the result of extensive consultation with industry.

"We have already done a lot of work on this. The roads we have chosen are long stretches," the spokesperson says.

"The roads we haven’t included are the ones that may be complicated and that is why [the roads in question] won’t be fully investigated until major road works are complete."

The VTA is also critical of the decision, in part, highlighting the 4.5 tonne and above inclusion clause—and possible safety issues – when it released its reponse yesterday.

"The inclusion of all commercial vehicles greater than 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass includes many more vehicles than this law really needs," VTA Chief Executive Philip Lovel says.

"The current laws are not enforced now. We hope VicRoads and Victoria Police have done their homework on this, or it could be a disaster."

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