Operation Steel nets hundreds of infringements

Some signs of industry improvement after two-part operation aimed at unrestrained loads, vehicle standards and speed

September 13, 2012

More than 350 infringement and defect notices were issued to trucks during a recent two-part joint operation in New South Wales.

Operation Steel, conducted by NSW Police and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), has inspected 611 trucks of which 23 were allegedly found to be using non-compliant speed limiters, including one truck on Tuesday that was found with modifications to its speed limiter, enabling it to reach speeds over 140km/h.

A 34-year-old driver from Illawong was charged for carrying illegal drugs after police found methamphetamine (ice) during a search of his truck on August 28.

A fleet of twelve trucks was also grounded on the same day after one of the vehicles was found carrying a large steel cable which had not been secured.

Another vehicle was held due to 15 separate defects.

The first joint operation saw police and RMS officers work together in targeting inadequately restrained loads on trucks, vehicle standards and speed.

Trucks were inspected at a number of locations throughout greater Sydney, including Botany Bay, Wetherill Park, Picton and the M5 at Kingsgrove.

The operation was launched following investigations into two recent crashes where unsecured loads were allegedly a contributing factor.

The first incident occurred on June 28 when a semi-trailer carrying a shipping container that was laden with tonnes of wood rolled over at the intersection of the Cumberland and Hume highways, crushing a car and killing the driver.

The truck driver, 45, from Chester Hill, escaped injury.

The second incident occurred on July 12 when a B-double carrying freight containers was involved in a crash on the Princes Highway at Sylvania.

The containers fell off the truck’s trailers, causing significant vehicle damage and traffic disruptions.

Police Superintendent Stuart Smith says police will continue to work closely with the RMS to enforce regulation and compliance throughout the transport industry.

"Compliance within the industry appears to be improving. However, the results of Operation Steel demonstrate that there are still too many non-compliant trucks out on the state’s roads," Smith says.

Two of the container trucks that were stopped were found with unsecure loads, with one carrying a load of unrestrained heavy steel rolls, while the other container had tonnes of steel ingots restrained only with fencing wire.

Both vehicles were grounded.

RMS inspectors had again caught trucks leaving Port Botany with unrestrained loads , with one truck having its load secured by just one locking pin instead of the four required.

"We had hoped we wouldn’t find this kind of disregard for safety again just two weeks after our last joint operation," RMS General Manager of Compliance and Enforcement Paul Endycott says.

"It’s very disappointing that some operators and parties in the chain of responsibility continue to ignore basic but essential safety procedures. This industry needs to address its culture of non-compliance and weed out those who take unacceptable risks with the safety of all road users."

Endycott says he is also disappointed with the conditions of many of the vehicles that were intercepted and the number of safety related infringements.

"We will continue to work with the NSW Police to stamp out this dangerous behaviour," he says.

The drivers and the companies they work for were not named.

The first phase of the operation took place on August 28.

At the time, Endycott took aim at sections of the transport industry, saying the level of
"disregard for basic safety and minimum load restraint requirements when carrying heavy and potentially dangerous loads is totally unacceptable".

The second phase concluded on Tuesday.

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