Committed to the company

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk

Cootes has copped criticism for running outdated gear, but try telling that to Stephen Black who drives a new Kenworth for the company.

Committed to the company
Stephen Black says he has been proud to work for Cootes Transport.


The name Cootes Transport has received a bucket load of negative publicity during the past few months, the result of a fatal accident in the Sydney northern beaches suburb of Mona Vale.

The fuel tanker involved rolled onto its side and burst into flames, killing two people.

Cootes subsequently lost lucrative contracts and came close to being banned from New South Wales after repeated audits found serious defects in the company’s fleet of trucks.

Owner//Driver recently caught up with Brisbane-based Cootes driver Stephen Black, who says the last few months have been hard given the level of media coverage of the company.

"Like everyone, I was saddened by the loss of life at Mona Vale. My heart goes out to all concerned," he says.

"My one hope from all this is it makes the entire industry sit up and take note that, whatever company you work for, if you think your unit is not right, get it checked before you go out on the road."

Black, who has been driving tankers for 13 years, has nothing but praise for Cootes Transport.

"I have been proud to work for Cootes and it’s been great to hear so many other drivers say the same," he says.

Cootes has copped flak for operating outdated gear, but Black was behind the wheel of an as-new Kenworth T409 SAR when he spoke to Owner//Driver.

"It’s nice to have new gear," he says.

The T409 had only 6,000km on the clock and comes with the new Cummins ES engine with AdBlue tanks.

"I was told I was getting an auto box but got a manual. I think at the end of the day I can drive better with the manual option," he says.

"It’s good overall, really nice to drive. You might have to drop a gear or two but it really just chews up the hills."

One slight downside is that the truck has only one fuel tank, meaning Black is up and down the steps refuelling twice as often. But he says it’s a small price to pay.

He is a fan of the twin exhausts, and the cab’s interior seems roomier. Plus there’s the wrap-around dash and the comfortable air-conditioning system.

"It makes coming to work every day that little but more enjoyable when you get to jump into this truck," he says.

Read the full story on Stephen Black in the April edition of Owner//Driver. Click here to get your copy now.

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