Anger building over Operation Rolling Thunder point scoring

Accusations of Industry demonization, cheap politics and knee-jerk reactions follow NSW Rolling Thunder blitz

Anger building over Operation Rolling Thunder point scoring
SARTA has questioned the authorities' disregard for the trucking industry’s positive side


A sense of frustration and dismay leading to anger is surfacing in sections of the trucking industry over the political and regulatory approach to road safety and trucks.

Despite a careful delineation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, especially by New South Wales authorities, much of the industry appear unwilling to take that at face value.

Many themes are regular ones over the years, including what is seen as a demonisation of the industry for political publicity, a lack of action on motorist responsibility for safe driving around trucks and the continued nitpickingly bureaucratic focus on even the most minor defects affecting trucks and trailers that are prone to imperfections due to working on the roads.

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) remains the most outspoken state industry body questioning the approach.

Less than two weeks after questioning the debate on problems in New South Wales, SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer has loosened another broadside in a facebook post that has garnered 442 shares.

High on the list of SARTA’s complaints is the highlighting of 26 positive drugs returns of 1,752 drivers tested.

"Drugs: 26 out of 1752 tested returned positive tests. So that is 1.4%," the post reads. 

"That’s right 98.6% were drug FREE!

"The general motoring community would NEVER return a result as good as that and the police damned well know it but they don’t mention that trucking is almost drug-free and far more responsible than motorists. 

"Sure any truck driver testing positive to drugs is one too many but for goodness sake, keep it in perspective."

It argues that politicians and the authorities should consider "applauding the industry on this point but saying that the remaining tiny minority using drugs needs to be eradicated" but questions if this would undermine any PR gains from the effort.

SARTA also takes a swipe at the use of defect numbers and the lack of a breakdown of them.

"Some 2000 defects issued from over 5000 trucks inspected," the post reads. 

"The public the media and most concerning, the ill-informed politicians, will all get totally sucked in by that because it sounds like 40% of trucks are unsafe."

SARTA also questions basis on which the defects were identified.

"What standard did the police apply in Operation Rolling PR Blunder, was it the Government approved and official national Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (HVIM) that the NHVR spent so much money on developing in consultation with police and industry before rolling it out and advising the industry that the HVIM is THE BIBLE and should be used by all officers and industry to manage roadworthiness? No of course it wasn’t, because police don’t consider themselves bound to the NHVIM," the post reads. 

"So unless and until the people behind Operation Rolling Thunder get serious about working WITH the industry to improve safety continually, the necessary actual safety improvements required amongst the small minority who are actually unsafe JUST WONT HAPPEN."

The full SARTA post and responses can be found here.


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