NSW crackdown to continue after Operation Explorer

Progress but still too many breaches say police as RMS pushes collaborative approach with industry

July 31, 2012

There will be no let-up in the New South Wales trucking crackdown, state authorities say as they detail the results of their latest initiative – Operation Explorer.

NSW Police Force Traffic and Highway Patrol Command (THPC) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) kicked off the operation at 6pm on Sunday and it ended at noon today.

Continuing breaches mean the crackdown must continue, according to THPC Operations Manager Inspector Phillip Brooks.

"There have been some disappointing results in the four major operations we have conducted this year, but it looks like safety compliance is becoming a priority in the transport industry," Brooks says.

"Operation Explorer is part of our ongoing investigations into speeding, speed tampering and fatigue related offences within the industry and we will continue to work closely with RMS to track down and remove trucks that do not comply with the regulations we have in place."

It resulted in the inspection of 431 heavy vehicles, including 22 target vehicles, with further vehicles to be inspected.

The heavy vehicle inspections resulted in:

  • 2 speed limiter compliance notices issued
  • 110 infringements issued
  • 3 major defect notices issued for a steer tyre defect, tyre chords exposed and oil leak
  • 68 minor defect notices issued for brake faults, tyre faults, light faults, mud flaps, axle compliance issues, windscreen cracks and other body-mount issues
  • 58 breaches issued by RMS
  • 1 license suspension notice issued
  • 9 Court Attendance Notices issued for not carrying a log book, false and misleading entries and exceeding working hours.

RMS Director Customer and Compliance Peter Wells says the only way forward is the development of a collaborative approach to building a safer industry.

"In June, RMS and NSW Police Force hosted the heavy vehicle speeding compliance leadership forum, which brought together national and state industry leaders and senior officials from government agencies to identify opportunities to improve speed compliance within the industry," Wells says.

"The forum was attended by freight industry stakeholders including parties in the chain of responsibility who convened to discuss possible actions to make the roads safer for all users.

"A panel of industry experts discussed ways to build a safer industry through promoting best practice across supply chains, identifying existing solutions and utilising emerging technologies.

"The panel considered how to manage cultural change across the logistics sector and discussed how road transport operators can work most effectively with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to tackle safety and compliance.

"Given the support from leaders across the logistics sector to eliminate speed limiter tampering it is clear there is still more to do as the figures from Operation Explorer show."

RMS has previously said chain of responsibility prosecutions can be expected beyond trucking companies and their drivers but that these would have to be constructied carefully.

Police and RMS say they acknowledge that most road transport operators are keen to see irresponsible behaviour eliminated to reduce the number of heavy vehicle fatalities and crashes each year.

"Good progress continues to be made in lowering the number of fatalities in crashes involving heavy vehicles however speed remains a major contributor to fatal heavy vehicle crashes," Brooks says.

"More work needs to be done to focus efforts on achieving further reductions in the heavy vehicle road toll through better targeted education and communication across the industry aimed at ensuring heavy vehicle drivers do not feel pressured to speed.

"NSW Police Force will continue to monitor and stop heavy vehicle operators who continue to ignore the law putting the lives of themselves and other road users at risk."

Over the course of operations Discovery, Marshall, Overland and Explorer, 1,092 trucks were inspected resulting in 50 speed-limiter compliance notices issued and 465 further infringements including breaches relating to mechanical defects, log book, fatigue and licence issues.

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