Jail people for using unsafe trucks: TWU

Fines and vehicle groundings are not enough to force change, union boss says.


Transport operators who allow unsafe vehicles on to the road should face jail, rather than financial penalties, a key union official believes.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) South Australia branch secretary Ray Wyatt says he was shocked when a police operation last month found almost one in two heavy vehicles pulled over in Adelaide had been driving with a significant mechanical defect.

The companies involved will be fined, and will face resourcing issues as their vehicles are brought up to standard, but Wyatt says such penalties won’t force change in the industry.

"It's when people are actually penalised and incarcerated for causing deaths on our roads [that] we'll have safe roads in Australia," he says.

"Until directors and CEOs go to jail, there will continue to be this squeeze where it's all about the bottom line and dollars for shareholders."

Operation Shake Up, which focused specifically on heavy vehicles to ensure roadworthy compliance, took place on April 28.

Of the 63 heavy vehicles inspected, 31 were found defective including 30 with ‘major’ defects such as brake and steering issues.

"The number of heavy vehicles defected was disappointing but the reasons for the defects were of concern to police given most were for ‘major’ defects," superintendent Guy Buckley says.

Several vehicles had to be towed to a place of repair.

"A pleasing outcome was no-one returned a positive result to drugs or alcohol of all the drivers stopped and tested," Buckley says.

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