Police praise actions of truck driver on South Eastern Freeway

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


Driver’s actions potentially saved his life and the lives of others, South Australia Police says.

Police praise actions of truck driver on South Eastern Freeway
SARTA executive director Steve Shearer.

 

A truck driver in South Australia is being praised for his actions on the South Eastern Freeway after making the call to use an arrester bed when his vehicle’s brakes failed.

SA Police says the Victorian-registered truck was travelling toward the bottom of the freeway at Leawood Gardens about 3.50am on September 24 when it ran into trouble.

The driver pulled off the highway into the arrester bed on the down track of the freeway and managed to bring his truck to a stop.

"This incident highlights the sound judgement of the driver," SA Police inspector Kev Lawton says.

"He made a conscious decision to take the arrester bed over the risks associated with entering the intersection at the bottom of the freeway. He made a brave decision and one that has potentially saved his life and the lives of other road users."

Although an investigation is continuing into the incident, SA transport minister Stephen Mullighan claims the truck driver may have been in too high a gear for the section of the freeway.

The incident follows a crash in August when a Transpacific tanker lost control at the bottom of the freeway and hit three cars, killing two people.

The speed limit on the freeway descent was reduced to 60km/h for trucks as a result and 90km/h for cars. Lawton says the reduced speed limit is having an impact and people are slowing down.

However, South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive director Steve Shearer wants the limit dropped to 40km/h for trucks, saying it will help prevent accidents.

"If you’re in a low gear because you have to do 40km/h or less you won’t get into trouble, you won’t need to use your brakes and you won’t accelerate to the point of speeding," Shearer says.

"As good as it is that the driver used the arrester bed, no driver should find themselves in that position and if they come down the road properly. You have to wonder why he got into that situation – he must have been going quite fast.

"The reality is, if you’re doing the right thing you’ll never need to go into an arrester bed."

Shearer says the police are praising the driver for using the arrester bed because they want to encourage others to do the same.

"After all the training and publicity some will still show up and do the wrong thing. The question is how do you stop that?"

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