TWU wants Coles investigated over fatal truck crash

Union believes truck driver killed in crash was working in the Coles supply chain.


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is pushing Victoria Police to investigate Coles over a fatal truck crash last month.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon has written to Chief Commissioner Ken Lay asking him to widen the investigation into the death of the driver, who rolled his truck in the Melbourne suburb of Hampton on March 26.

Sheldon says the investigation should look at the work practices of Coles because the driver is believed to have been working in the Coles supply chain at the time of the accident.

"The causes of the Hampton crash are under investigation. It seems likely that fatigue played a part," Sheldon says.

"If so, it is important that the police examine what role was played by Coles or other firms in setting unrealistic delivery deadlines which force drivers to stay behind the wheel for too long."

The crash occurred when the truck, carrying fruit, clipped a tree, collided with various objects and overturned in the front yard of a nearby home. No other vehicles were involved and the driver died at the scene.

In his letter to Lay, Sheldon outlines specific areas the union wants the police to look at, including determining if the truck was operating within the Coles supply chain at the time of the accident.

He says police should also examine if fatigue contributed to the crash and, if so, whether delivery deadlines or economic pressure played a role.

However, Sheldon also wants police to open up a broader investigation. He says officers should look at the culpability of other clients in heavy vehicle accidents in Victoria and if Coles’ supply chain deadlines pose a risk to public safety.

"Around Australia we are seeing more and more deaths as a result of speeding, fatigue and poor maintenance – all caused by clients setting unrealistic deadlines and keeping trucks on the road too long," Sheldon writes.

"The union would be pleased to assist the Victorian Police in pursuing these investigation themes."

Coles has been contacted for comment.

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