Truck driver behaviour gaining a good press

Heroic individual action combined with high road-courtesy rating accentuate the positive

July 16, 2013

After suffering unrelenting bad press recently, truck drivers may be facing a change in public perception in New South Wales if unrelated developments are anything to go by.

Despite a spate of truck accident tragedies and an unprecedented enforcement crackdown last year, actions appear to be speaking louder than words.

Heroic work by an unnamed truck driver, who
aided two men in a panel van that was engulfed by fire near Sydney Airport, has gained broad coverage.

The truck driver was reported to have risked his life on Sunday afternoon, crossing traffic to tackle the fire.

"The truck driver saw it on the other side of the road, and actually grabbed his foam extinguisher and ran across six lanes of traffic to put it out," Inspector Norm Buckley, from Fire and Rescue NSW, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The incident occurred at the corner of General Holmes Drive and Millpond Road.

The next day, insurance firm GIO released its NSW road courtesy survey which indicates a certain positive regard for truck driver behaviour.

In a State of Courtesy report that showed the level of courtesy on NSW roads is deteriorating generally, those surveyed nominated truck drivers as the third most courteous group, at 16 percent, behind country drivers at 41 percent and seniors at 31 percent.

In other findings, almost two-thirds of NSW drivers (64 percent) consider discourtesy to be at its worst during peak hour traffic, followed by bad weather (29 percent), when accidents cause delays (29 percent) and Friday afternoons (24 percent).

"There is a serious lack of courtesy across the state, and it’s getting worse, with more than two-thirds of NSW motorists believing there is less courtesy on the roads compared to five years ago," GIO spokesman Stephen Bell says.

He adds that with "more than 4.8 million vehicles on the roads and Sydney’s traffic congestion named and shamed as one of the worst in the Western world, it’s important drivers make courtesy a priority".

Bell was referring to the latest annual TomTom Congestion Index, released in April, that put Sydney at equal sixth of most traffic-congested major cities, with Los Angeles, Stuttgart, Paris and Rome, and behind only Moscow, Istanbul, Warsaw, Marseille and Palermo.

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