Ken Wilkie, Opinion

More motorists under the influence

OPINION: Should extra focus be placed on motorists in regards to alcohol and illegal substances?

Integrity? The quality of being honest and upright in character. I consider Australia has lost its level of integrity. And further society too often does not value integrity. I draw your attention to Captain Richard de Crespigny’s comments quoted in the Brisbane Sunday Mail, October 1. He uses adjectives such as ego, ignorance, neglect and mistreatment.

There are numerous examples of people in high places of influence not doing what is expected of them. Such adjectives can be well used to describe them. They exist in both private and public sections of society.

I’ve had correspondence from an acquaintance, Darryl, some weeks ago decrying the lack of action on chain of responsibility situations. It seems we make all these grandiose regulations but still lack the determination and or moral fibre to apply those regulations. Is it too hard or simply inconvenient? Friends in high places maybe! Are the above quoted adjectives appropriate? Most likely in various degrees.

I do see another aspect of the situation. The regulatory minefield is such a complex area that only people like Robert Bell can fathom the intricacies of the area. It is time the statute books were gone through and regulations simply designed to attract revenue or, worse still as with many of those directed at road transport operators, designed because designers have negative industry prejudice. Such regulations must be deleted.

Is it such negative industry prejudice that’s stalling and retarding progress towards realistic fatigue regulations? Can the failure of people involved in designing more appropriate fatigue regulations be described using the before mentioned adjectives?

Mind altering

I took part in a forum on road safety recently. Numerous commentators suggested speed, others poor road maintenance and others suggested driver incompetence. With this society’s seemingly insatiable demand for illicit substances, I expressed a question on the possibility of drivers being under the influence of those substances. A commentator claiming authority in the road safety field quoted a figure more than 50 per cent of people involved in crashes were under the influence of alcohol or some other mind-bending substance. Reported in the general media more recently gave the figure 20 per cent. That’s still outrageous.

4 trev booked by cop.jpg

Maybe the authorities should start the roadside blitz activity again and target the average motorist as well as those driving heavy vehicles?

I see now that Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is calling for the authorities to release details of accident investigations. It can’t come soon enough. But is the ATA playing catchup? Ross M made that call some years ago and I’ve added my voice for the same many moons ago.

RELATED ARTICLE: Uneducated motorists dicing with danger

The truth in breach reporting is along similar lines. I also seem to remember a recent report from the ATA calling to politicians for better driver education. Bloody hell! How often have I stated that driver education needs to be included in the secondary school curriculum? And I know from experience that simply one day’s instruction is totally inadequate. But at least we tried, and I do have a history of putting my money where my mouth is.

Hypocrisy: the pretence of having certain qualities, beliefs or feelings, especially admirable or virtuous ones. Businesses or people who use organisations that employ drivers on ABNs so that such cheats can provide a cheaper service while the procuring operation spruiking high standards of workplace health and safety compliance.


Your required reading this month – Toots: Woman In A Man’s World. It’s readily available along the route she plied.

KEN WILKIE has been an owner-driver since 1974, after first getting behind the wheel at 11. He’s on his eighth truck, and is a long-time OwnerDriver contributor. He covers Rockhampton to Adelaide and any point in between. His current ambition is to see the world, and to see more respect for the nation’s truckies. Contact Ken at

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