NSW’s push for safety

WHEN it comes to the pressures of the transport industry, no one understands better than the driver out on the road trying to make the deadline or put food on the family table.

Time and again, truck drivers are forced to resort to extreme lengths to meet a schedule set by some deadhead office-bound manager who doesn't understand or doesn't care about the cost of meeting that schedule.

From speeding to missing fatigue breaks, having to make up unpaid hours spent waiting to load and unload or not being able to afford taking a truck off the road for maintenance - there is little wonder why truck crashes are such a tragically common event on our roads.

As the union for truck drivers, the TWU has been fighting for decades to rid the industry of these lethal pressures, which come from the big transport clients and the big end of town.

In a welcome development it now seems that the authorities, in NSW at least, have finally cottoned on to the real roots of the pressures in the trucking industry.

Instead of simply pinging truck drivers and ticking boxes like the authorities have always done, there appears to be a real appetite at the RMS and the NSW Police to tackle the dodgy operators and the dodgy clients at the top of the supply chain.

Recently the NSW authorities have begun to target the distribution centres of some of the biggest players.

What they are finding won't come as a surprise to anyone in the industry.

Of the 60 trucks inspected at Coles' Smeaton Grange Distribution Centre, almost half were cited for defects.

These results again underline a complete disregard for the safety of workers in the supply chain.

While Woolworths is at least willing to work with drivers and the industry to address the serious safety problems, Coles sticks its head in the sand.

While no one likes the coppers on their back, it's a good thing for drivers that the NSW authorities at least have begun to understand the root of the problems in our industry.

Let's hope they keep it up because truckies, like everyone on the roads, deserve to come home safely.

Big Rigs

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