SARTA demands changes to privacy laws

Industry group wants government action on privacy laws so operators are notified when their drivers are caught using drugs

May 22, 2012

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) wants changes to privacy laws, saying truck owners and the public deserve to know when drivers are caught using drugs.

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer believes the change to South Australia’s Privacy Act will benefit the industry and the community.

"The public interest in enabling police and the truck owners to manage and correct the unsafe behaviour of a minority of truck drivers who are law-breaking [and] dangerous must be put ahead of the individual privacy rights of those few irresponsible idiots in our industry," Shearer says.

"Instead of the public and media just getting cranky with the trucking industry over drugs, they should round on the [South Australian] Government over its irresponsible and tardy response to this important road safety issue."

Shearer has questioned why the government has not acted, saying it has told SARTA it supports the group’s position.

"It can be six months and even two years before a truck driver found on drugs is processed through the courts and even then the truck owner may never be told," Shearer says.

"How many lives are put at risk on the road every day in the meantime, all because the government is either too nervous about privacy or because it just doesn’t give the issue enough priority to actually fix the problem and empower the police to advise the truck owners?

"We support what the police are doing and we share their aim or eradicating what the police have repeatedly labelled as a recalcitrant small minority of truck drivers who stupidly and irresponsibly continue to use drugs when driving."

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