Pressured truck drivers told to speak up


Drivers who feel pressured by employers to work longer hours and go a greater distance have been encouraged to contact the police

By Ruza Zivkusic
| March 22, 2010

Drivers who feel pressured by their employers to work longer hours and go a greater distance are encouraged to contact the police.

Victoria Police Superintendent David Newton, who works as a transport industry liaison officer, believes more drivers are put under greater stress by their managers and therefore take drugs to stay awake.

During selective drug testing, one in 20 drivers was found to have used amphetamines while on the road, Newton says. He says the problem is not improving and is particularly prevalent in the long haul sector.

"They drive more hours than they should, which requires them to speed to get to locations in a particular time. If a driver is concerned of being pushed to do things which are endangering themselves or others, we do encourage them to come forward and tell us on a confidential basis," Newton says.

Police are targeting the problem by visiting companies and holding forums with Victorian Transport Association (VTA) members. The first meeting was held last month.

"We’re letting the leaders of the industry advise the leaders of the Victoria Police the issues that they see on basis which needs to be addressed and to give the leaders of the police a better understanding from an industry point of view that should be done," Newton says.

Newton says there was a significant increase in heavy vehicle fatalities last year despite a fall in the overall road toll.

"We will target this by putting more resources into the activity as our intelligence is improving all the time and it’ll show the resources where they’re needed at the times of the problems that are occurring," he says.

"If it’s 2am on the Hume Freeway that we need to be then that’s where we’ll be."

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