Major VIC heavy vehicle compliance blitz announced


Horne warns of ‘random and targeted checks’, cites rise in fatalities

Major VIC heavy vehicle compliance blitz announced
TSS officers conducted 20 operations across Victoria so far this year

 

A Victorian government announcement is pledging a heavy vehicle crackdown, warning operators to ensure their fleets comply with road safety regulations and national heavy vehicle laws.

As part of the blitz, Transport Safety Services (TSS) officers "will carry out random and targeted checks across Victoria to ensure truck drivers are doing the right thing", Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne says.

Roadworthiness will be a key focus as "tyre, windscreen, oil leaks, seatbelts, brakes, suspension and coupling defects continuing to be common breaches for truck operators".

Ongoing enforcement of truck curfews in areas including Melbourne’s inner west is also indicated, as are TSS site visits targeting companies with previous non-compliance to address issues and reduce reoffending.

Horne notes while the vast majority of drivers and operators do the right thing, overweight trucks, unsecured loads, speed and log book offences still pose a serious risk to truck drivers and other road users.

"Victoria has a strong record on heavy vehicle compliance and these random compliance operations are designed to ensure heavy vehicle operators conduct all the necessary checks and that drivers do the right thing," Horne says.

There have already been 34 fatalities involving heavy vehicles this year – compared to 27 fatalities in 2018, the statement emphasises.

TSS officers have carried out more than 20 operations across Victoria so far this year, targeting known heavy vehicle crash locations with an aim of reducing the occurrence of fatalities and serious injuries.

"I’m focused on ensuring we can keep freight moving efficiently across Victoria and these compliance operations are an important part of ensuring the safe movement of freight from agriculture to other important goods," Horne adds.


VicRoads earlier this year noted a truck crash fault rate rise


The finger hasn’t been pointed squarely at heavy vehicle operators, however, with the state government noting "many of the crashes involving heavy vehicles are caused by other motorists".

"A recent study from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) found many motorists don’t leave enough room around trucks and aren’t aware that heavy vehicles have large blind spots," the statement adds.

"Car drivers are urged to allow enough space when passing and merging in front of trucks in traffic as well being aware that heavy vehicles have large blind spots and require more room to stop safely."

A spokesperson for Minister Horne confirmed to ATN the blitz activity corresponds to Victoria's increased heavy vehicle toll in 2019, with operations increasing this year compared to last year as a result.

In response, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson emphasises the shared responsibility for motorists to interact appropriately with heavy vehicles on the road. 

"The government has rightly acknowledged that many of the crashes involving heavy vehicles are caused by other motorists.

"We are pleased that, as part of this current safety blitz, passenger vehicle drivers are being urged to allow enough space when passing and merging in front of trucks.

"Notwithstanding the safety risks to heavy vehicle drivers and other motorists, there are significant penalties for roadworthiness breaches, so we encourage operators to take time to ensure their fleets are compliant, and that drivers observe curfew requirements in the inner west and elsewhere,"

 

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