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NSW reveals safety station secrets

One of the biggest truck checking stations in Australia opens its doors to operators


NSW authorities have hosted a trucking operator to spend a day alongside inspectors at the big twin checking stations at Marulan.

As most of the Australian trucking industry knows, the Marulan weighbridges a couple of hours south of Sydney are a major landmark on the nation’s busiest highway, the Hume.

Yesterday we reported on the “risk-based” screening lane technology on the approaches to the Marulan stations.

Instantaneous checks include camera scans of registration plates which can pick up previous misdemeanours and Safe-T-Cam data en route; “weigh-in-motion” technology assessing mass; and other sensors examining height.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) says its “industry engagement” program includes some of the larger trucking operators visiting safety stations such as Marulan.

One of Marulan’s recent visitors was Lance Fisher, fleet maintenance manager with big Sydney operator John L Pierce, along with a couple of his colleagues.

Fisher is a former winner of the Australian Trucking Association’s Craig Roseneder Award for technical and maintenace excellence in the workshop.

“It was fabulous … we learnt a hell of a lot,” Fisher told delegates to the recent Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC) in Melbourne. He added it was “enlightening” to see the technology available to the inspectors.

“There was a truck that had a misdemeanour on it … as soon as it went through the Bargo cameras on its way south it came automatically up onto the main screen in Marulan so already he was earmarked to come in and was still 45 minutes or so up the road on his way down,” Fisher said.

“As soon as he came in (the screening lane) the arrow diverted him in (to the weighbridge). I don’t know what the misdemeanour was but obviously then the inspectors went out, they started having a look at logbook and license and then obviously checked around the truck and trailers.

“It was 19 metre B-double … he was out there for a while … the inspectors took him up to the shed, he was up there for about an hour, and on the trailers they found the pistons into the disc on one wheel … there were three cracked rotors and there was no brake lining on a couple of pads of the remaining axles.

“It had three tyres with wire hanging out of them, so it was an absolute bucket. So they grounded the unit there and then.

“Then we were fortunate enough to go under the tunnel to the northbound lane. What was alarming in what we saw there was brakes over-stroking plus an old farmer with his farm truck which was unregistered and unlicensed. He was grounded there and then.

“The one that was concerning the most was a relatively new PBS vehicle that had all the booster lengths set up incorrectly with the threaded end of the rod on the booster hitting and mushrooming on the slack adjuster because of the difference between a metric slack adjuster and a US half-inch clevis.”

Of the experience overall Fisher added: “There are still some blokes out there that don’t do the right thing, and obviously they’re probably not here today.”

Brett Patterson, statewide operations manager with RMS, says the organisation is putting a lot of work into industry education and engagement. There are industry liaison officers and even a hotline for truckies seeking information or wanting to report incidents.

The TMC is organised by the ATA and Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association.

Check out the full story in the December issue of Owner//Driver. Subscribe here.



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