Wild Lovel fires up at members over poor turnout

“Wild” VTA CEO takes aim at group’s members, saying their failure to attend a road safety forum is “absolutely disgraceful”

By Ruza Zivkusic | August 26, 2011

The head of Victoria’s peak trucking lobby has chastised operators for failing to front a forum to improve road safety, as new figures reveal 39 heavy vehicle crashes occurred last financial year, leading to 43 deaths.

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Phil Lovel is fuming after only 20 out of the group’s 70 members attended yesterday’s forum in Melbourne’s Moonee Valley organised by VTA and VicRoads.

"It is absolutely disgraceful; we are really wild about that," Lovel says.

"The operators let us down badly – they had all booked in and we catered for them and we had some excellent guest speakers and they just failed to turn up.

"Here we are listening to them and finding out what the issues are on the road because there has been a lot of truck accidents in the last few days and loads are falling off and trucks are hitting bridges, and yet they fail to turn up.

"It’s not good enough, it’s [an] appalling performance."

Of the 39 truck accidents, five pedestrians were killed, along with three motorcyclists.

The predominant crash type in the country areas was side-impact intersection crashes, where five people died. Four of those occurred at arterial road intersections.

Thirty-six people were injured in crashes involving trucks during the first two months of this year, resulting in 41 serious injuries – down by 16 injuries compared to the same period last year.

Almost 300 serious crashes involving trucks and people occurred last calendar year, resulting in 354 serious injuries. The VTA says 218 people were seriously injured in metropolitan Melbourne last year and 136 in country Victoria. Out of those, 17 were pedestrians, 22 bicyclists and 22 motorcyclists.

Victoria Police will target heavy vehicles during a week-long operation on the Monash Freeway in September. Southern metropolitan region road policing inspector Greg Parr says police receive up to four complaints each week of trucks tailgating cars.

"We are going to do some enforcement of everybody on the Monash Freeway and one of the things we’re looking at is tailgating by heavy vehicles," he says.

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