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Crash near Calliope claims life of Rocky truck driver
Truck driver Paul Hooper died after he was involved in a truck crash near Calliope Photo Contributed
A SINGLE-vehicle crash has claimed the life of Rockhampton truck driver Paul Hooper, after his prime mover jackknifed and drove off the Bruce Hwy on Thursday night, north of Calliope.
The 45-year-old father was found deceased at the scene just after 8.10pm.
After jackknifing, the truck travelled about 120m up the highway and came to rest 20m off the road after colliding with a number of trees.
Mr Hooper was driving from Rockhampton, leaving only an hour before the accident.
Police are unsure where he was headed, but in previous days he had made trips between Rockhampton and Bundaberg.
The truck has been towed from the scene and will be impounded for a mechanical inspection.
The Forensic Crash Unit is still investigating the cause of the crash.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 131 444.
Insane flying semi-truck sets jump record, nearly takes out building
Many of the crazy car chases and stunts seen in today's Hollywood movies seem to defy physics or logic in such a way that we no longer expect to see such things happen in real life, except perhaps during one week each summer in a small mountain town.
Each year in the stuntman's home town of Butte, Montana, "Evel Knievel Days" showcases some of the most extreme motorized stunts around and this year's main event was a record-setting jump in a semi-trailer cab by filmmaker, producer and stunt driver Gregg Godfrey.
As you can see for yourself in the video below, Godfrey takes the massive earthen ramp constructed on a main street in uptown Butte and clears 160 feet (48.7m) in the air to easily set a new world record.
But the landing is rough. The truck bounces on the ramp and Godfrey blows his front passenger-side tire, which appears to send the truck into a 180-degree spin, coming within just a few feet of taking out the side wall of a nearby building.
What's remarkable is the almost total lack of a safety perimeter around the landing zone. The only thing separating a flying truck careening in a semi-circle from a parking lot full of parked cars and a number of spectators and passers-by is some yellow caution tape.
I guess when you're in Evel Knievel's hometown, it takes more than a flying truck to get you excited. Check it out for yourself and tell me you wouldn't take off running in the other direction if you were anywhere near that landing zone.
click here Too many trucking firms ignoring their responsibilities: VicRoads
Transport authority says recent inspections show companies need to lift their game on vehicle maintenance
The message has gone out to Victorian trucking companies to pay closer attention to vehicle maintenance procedures.
Citing the findings from recent truck inspections in Melbourne’s suburbs, Victorian transport authority VicRoads says not enough operators are implementing strong maintenance procedures.
It says recent inspections as part of Operation Trishula in Melbourne’s eastern and western suburbs examined 252 vehicles, 224 of which recorded defects.
"The numbers don’t lie. There are too many heavy vehicle operators ignoring their business and social responsibilities," VicRoads director of regulatory services Eric Henderson says.
"The majority of heavy vehicle companies operate stringent vehicle maintenance programs, but it is clear from our target testing that some business owners do not regularly maintain their fleet."
Of the 155 vehicles inspected in the eastern suburbs, VicRoads says 90 had major defects and 44 had minor defects.
It says 97 vehicles were inspected in the western suburbs, with tests showing 57 trucks with major faults and 33 with minor faults.
VicRoads says common faults included steering and brake issues, worn or damaged tyres, broken lights, loose bolts and faulty seatbelts.
It carried out the inspections with Victoria Police and WorkSafe.
"Any unsafe vehicle is a risk, with the potential to cause crashes and road trauma or break down, anywhere, anytime, causing unnecessary hold ups and great inconvenience to other road users," Henderson says.
"Our message to all road users is to maintain year-round vehicle maintenance and follow regular service schedules. In particular, we encourage heavy vehicle business owners to ensure they operate safe vehicles as we continue our random, targeted, roadside and on-site inspections."
Vehicles with major faults are immediately taken off the road or given one hour to travel to a repairer.
Minor faults have to be addressed within seven days. Those who do not comply will have their truck taken off the road.
Smaller trucking companies on VicRoads radar
Companies with fleets of 15 to 25 vehicles are continually coming to VicRoads attention during inspection campaigns.
VicRoads is working harder to engage with small trucking firms on vehicle maintenance issues, as an increasing number of them are popping up on its radar during inspections.
The department has a policy of forewarning companies about inspections and it is now intending to step up its activities.
VicRoads director of regulatory services Eric Henderson says the department issues letters to owner-operators when it identifies potential maintenance issues and gives them a period of time to present their trucks for inspection.
The move is aimed at giving owners the chance to repair their trucks to a timeline, improve maintenance standards and avoid penalties for defects.
"VicRoads is focused on safety across the industry. We have not targeted companies based on size but in the last six months operators that run approximately 15 to 25 vehicles have come to our attention in random testing," Henderson says.
The policy of informing companies ahead of inspections has been in place for about one year. The amount of notice an operator receives varies depending on the potential issue identified.
"The timing of inspections is dependent upon the risk the potential defects pose to other road users. These inspections are part of our commitment to the safety of all road users by ensuring unroadworthy heavy vehicles are addressed and removed from the roads where necessary," Henderson says.
While small and medium trucking outfits are grabbing a lot of VicRoads’ attention, Henderson makes clear that the government department will not be neglecting the larger end of the transport industry.
"VicRoads doesn’t discriminate against the size of the company. We conduct site inspections on companies of all sizes," he says.
The department recently wrapped up an inspection campaign dubbed Operation Trishula, which put 252 trucks under the microscope.
The results prompted VicRoads to urge trucking companies to pay more attention to vehicle maintenance.
Greener freight on the way in US with new heavy vehicle standards
One of Walmart's efficient trucks
Proposed standards to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles promises a leaner, greener road freight industry for the US.
The “phase 2” changes proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are expected to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions by 20-30 per cent in heavy duty vehicles (based on 2010 figures), with the deployment of new truck technologies delivering fuel savings that greatly exceed upfront costs.
According to our recent article, there is also a demand for greener freight in Australia, however efficiency gains are being made though shifting modes from road and air to train and sea, with vehicle fuel efficiency standards lagging compared to international efforts.
The push for fuel efficiency in the US is being spearheaded by business. Sustainability website GreenBiz says some of the US’s largest businesses are already making big gains on efficiency, though regulation is needed to capture the rest of the market.
Walmart, for example, has increased its fleet operational efficiency by more than 80 per cent and has noted that truck fuel efficiency could present “key opportunities to improve efficiency across the industry in a coordinated, responsible and safe way”.
FedEx, which has the second-largest fleet for hire, has almost met its goal of a 30 per cent reduction in vehicle fuel efficiency (now at 29.5 per cent) on 2005 levels, and is behind strong phase 2 fuel efficiency standards.
Pepsi has reduced fuel use by 24 per cent since 2010, and is actively supporting increased fuel efficiency standards, with PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi recently saying “strong new truck fuel-economy standards will keep America moving in the right direction” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
The EPA and NHTSA are taking comments on the proposed changes until 11 September 2015.
Truckie fined for using another driver's work diary
A GLADSTONE highway patrol stopped a truck driver on the Bruce Hwy, but when police asked Shane Ebner for his work diary they discovered he was not its rightful owner.
Prosecutor Snr Const Sam Pyke said the diary had been issued to another driver - the name not matching Ebner's licence.
The professional driver pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to making an entry in someone else's work record on March 8.
He had signed the entry as being true and correct and gave no reason to police as to why he did this.
Ebner was fined $500 and a conviction was recorded.
Truck driver Trevor Baldwin driven to suicide: family urges industry reform
Trevor Baldwin was 35 when he ended his life in a Campbelltown motel in March 2007.
The former Oak Flats truck driver was found hanging by cleaners, bringing to an end 18 months of bullying and abuse at the hands of fellow drivers after he brought safety concerns to light.
‘‘Trevor raised dangerous practices and poor treatment of drivers, but it was put in the ‘too hard’ basket,’’ said Trevor’s brother, Ian.
Trevor’s story started as many trucking tragedies do – trying to make up ground after a delay. Carrying a major delivery, he was told by management to jump the queue ahead of other drivers in line.
‘‘Another driver complained, so you had two fatigued drivers coming to blows,’’ Ian said of the incident, the catalyst for 18 months of abuse inflicted on his brother.
‘‘He was pushed and shoved, had a swing thrown at him.’’
Ian claims Trevor’s employer covered up the incident, and told him to take time off.
It was when Trevor left the company, got a new trucking job, and took legal action against his former employer for unpaid wages and entitlements that his family said bullying and harassment began – not from rival drivers, but former colleagues.
What followed ranged from mean-spirited schoolyard bullying – from name-calling and insults – to intimidation, stalking, and ultimately one terrifying incident on the Pacific Highway near Ballina, when Trevor’s vehicle was almost forced off the road by two other truckies.
All the while, Trevor and his family were fighting to expose wrongdoing in the system, from logbook doctoring to fatigued drivers.
“Logbooks pressure drivers to drive faster, to overtake in dangerous positions to make up lost time. They set the schedule as if you were going 100km/h,” Ian said.
The Transport Workers’ Union says trucking is Australia’s deadliest job, with drivers 15 times more likely to die than any other profession and 330 truck-related deaths each year.
As part of the Senate inquiry, the TWU has called for retailers to shoulder more responsibility, saying unrealistic schedules force drivers into deadly choices between getting fined or pushing their limits.
Trevor fought for change … until March 1, 2007, when he checked into a Campbelltown motel after a supply run. He ate a chicken dinner and downed two beers, before putting his head through the makeshift noose of his belt.
After his death, Trevor’s family found his computer, where he logged safety concerns – drivers working crazy hours and falsified logbooks.
Trevor’s records claim he had driven for 33 hours straight, only taking three hours’ break. He had been forced to doctor his books to skirt around restrictions.
“He’d documented everything. All the bullying, the false hours,” Ian said.
“We didn’t realise the extent of what was happening.”
Years of fighting for Trevor followed – appeals to WorkCover, courts and three prime ministers. Now, the Baldwins have begged the Senate’s road safety inquiry to demand reform.
“The company manager should be made to set safe conditions,” Ian said.
“The driver should be able to call and say they need extra time. The boss should say he can stop, have a rest.”
Ian said the logbook system has no breathing room for slow traffic or roadworks. A driver who missed their delivery time or exceeded allowed driving hours faced fines from the government or their employer.
“They should give you buffer zones. The schedules are not realistic,” Ian said.
He said the family would keep pushing for change to help other drivers.
“At the end of the day, there should be an investigation. It’s been a blame game.
Throwing away long-haul for a truck with a view
Robbie Caldwell has spent more years than he cares to remember driving up and down the east coast.
More to the point, most of the 22 years of his married life were spent out on the highway.
"I would have been home for bugger all during those years," Robbie says.
He drove for Iannelli Transport for 16 of those years, including a stint behind the wheel of a gold Kenworth T604 hauling a fridge van.
"The trucks were the full works, and I was up and down the coast like a yo-yo," Robbie recalls.
"They had seven fruit shops, including one in Geelong and one in Brisbane. It was full on."
Things went slowly downhill for Robbie, and he ended up in hospital. Once out of hospital he decided it was time for a change, so he went for his B-double licence.
He scored a job with Monaro Logging, which harvests and hauls timber for the Forestry Corporation of New South Wales (FCNSW) in Bombala, as well as harvesting for PF Olsen in Tumut.
Robbie has been with Monaro Logging for six years now. His current steed is a new Kenworth T909, one of six in the Monaro Logging fleet.
Robbie says when he first started with Monaro Logging, he wasn’t sure if the job would suit him.
"But I do like a bit of a challenge," he says.
"Anyone can drive around with a single freezer van. It was good, but some of the places you go in the bush are just spectacular.
"When you are out near Tumut, you can look out and see forever."
‘You can’t leave him to burn’: Humble hero’s defining moment
Robert Skewes, from Tin Can Bay, and Palmwoods' David Holmes recieved Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery awards on July 29, 2015. They saved the life of a Brisbane truck driver when his vehicle burst into flames following an accident on the Bruce Highway, Sippy Downs, on August 29, 2011. P
LIFESAVERS don't come more humble than Robert Skewes.
So facing the glare of TV cameras and strangers at the Royal Humane Society of Australasia's bravery awards in the Brisbane Town Hall on Wednesday was no easy task for the 54-year-old fisherman from Tin Can Bay.
"It's very humbling - it's nothing that I expected," he says of the award and having to step into the spotlight four years after risking his own life to save that of a stranger.
On August 29, 2011, Mr Skewes pulled a driver from his burning tanker after it jack-knifed on the Bruce Hwy at Sippy Downs.
Another driver, David Holmes, helped drag Brisbane father Jason Bowditch to safety and both applied first aid to the victim who spent a few days in hospital after the crash.
"I heard this guy screaming and I just ran down and pulled him out," Mr Skewes says of his selfless act.
"You can't leave him there to burn so you've got to try to do something."
Shortly after saving Mr Bowditch, Mr Skewes had an epiphany.He swapped driving trucks for a much more laid-back career.
These days he can be found sailing around the ocean off Gympie, casting a line for a living."After that truck accident I woke up in bed one morning and went 'That's it, I'm not driving trucks ever again'," he said.
"You don't think about the decisions you make every day on the highway."You just get in and turn the ignition on and go."You don't even give it a second thought.
"When something like that (the accident) happens you stop and you think 'Wow, this could just happen to any of us'."
Police trying to save driver after fatal truck crash
Emergency crews have freed a trapped driver who was involved in a fatal crash in Woodend on Wednesday afternoon.
The man, 49, from Sunbury, suffered serious injuries after being trapped in his cement truck, which collided with a car in Ashbourne Road about 12.30pm.
He was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Police said the driver of the car died at the scene.
Major Collision Investigation detectives are at the scene and are yet to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the collision.
Truck driver injuries 'just part of the job' in Australia's most lethal industry
More transport workers die each year than in any other industry.
The trucking industry's reputation as one of the most dangerous in Australia has been reinforced by a survey in which hundreds of employers admit sometimes breaking safety rules to complete work on time, and say workplace injuries are simply an everyday risk of the job.
In a survey of more than 1000 businesses by statutory authority Safe Work Australia, 20 per cent of employers agreed they broke safety rules to complete work on time, compared to an average of 6 per cent in other monitored industries.
One in five also agreed they "consider minor incidents a normal part of daily work", compared with one in 10 elsewhere.
Truck drivers face the highest exposure of all industries to hazardous gases and dust, fumes, sun, loud noise and vibration, the survey found.
Injuries, including sprains, strains and chronic joint and muscle problems, were also more common among transport workers than in other industries.
More transport workers die each year than in any other industry, Safe Work figures show. Forty-eight of 184 workplace deaths in Australia last year were in the transport sector. Only agriculture, forestry and fishing, with 46 deaths, had a comparable death rate.
The survey, released this month, found there were significant gaps between employers and employees in attitudes towards safety, with staff showing significantly less faith in workplace health and safety practices than their employers did.
The report found evidence of a widespread culture that tolerated risky behaviour to get the job done as quickly as possible, which likely contributed to the high rate of deaths and injuries.
"The higher acceptance of risk-taking and rule-breaking in the transport industry compared to other industries is concerning. These may be key factors driving the high levels of injuries and fatalities," the survey report states.
"The findings suggest that workplace conditions and to some degree pressure from management stops workers from following safety practices, highlighting work design as a problem."
About 90 per cent of employers believed their company had good workplace safety standards that took the views of workers into consideration, compared with 75 per cent of workers who felt properly listened to.
Workers were less likely than their employers to agree that there was consistent reporting of accidents, near misses and health and safety concerns.
The Transport Workers Union leapt on the survey as evidence rule-breaking was rampant among employers, who were putting drivers' lives at risk.
The union called for the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, the road safety watchdog established by the former Gillard government, to hold companies at the top of the supply chain to account for rule-breaking in transport.
TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said drivers were pressured to skip breaks and drive for longer and faster with overloaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state.
"For too long truck drivers and transport operators have carried the can for what is going wrong in our industry," Mr Sheldon said.
The tribunal has the authority to set rates of pay for truck drivers as a means to improve worker safety. It has been attacked by the industry for unnecessarily increasing the regulatory burden on operators.
In Victoria, the Transport Industry Safety Group has recently been formed at the recommendation of the state coroner, after a 14-year-old boy was fatally hit by a truck whose driver was found to have been poorly trained.
Big debt haunts McAleese results
McAleese says one of its heavy haulage customers is struggling to pay a significant debt
McAleese says its full year result for the 2015 financial year will fall within expectations and guidance, despite a major customer falling into arrears.
The unnamed customer has not disputed the money owed, but is struggling to transfer the funds because of slow payments by one of its own customers. McAleese says the debt, reported to be worth $10 million, will likely have an impact on its full year earnings report, but won’t push it out of previous guidance to the market.
"The company continues to monitor receipts from debtors in light of industry conditions in the major project market, and in particular a significant debtor to the heavy haulage and lifting division," McAleese informed the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday.
"The company continues to seek information to determine what, if any, provisions against the debt should be reflected in the 2015 results."
This may result in changes to McAleese’s financing arrangements, in place only since the end of June.
"McAleese has commenced discussions with its financiers regarding its debt facilities with the aim of providing a stable base to improve the company’s balance sheet, operations, and long term growth prospects."
McAleese has not yet scheduled its full-year results announcements.
Milk sent pouring onto street after Melbourne truck flips onto side in car collision
Milk has been sent pouring onto a street at Brunswick in Melbourne's north after a truck flipped onto its side in a collision with a car.
The truck crashed into the side of a car which was travelling in the opposite direction on Nicholson Street around midnight.
Gurmandeep Sekhon was driving the car that was clipped and said he had a lucky escape.
"If it had have hit head-on, I probably wouldn't be talking to you ... maybe I'd be in the hospital," he said.
Mr Sekhon's partner was with him in the car, and he said she was left shaken up by the crash.
"The car is damaged but I'm safe and my partner is safe," he said.
Truck driver killed at Calliope was Rockhampton man
A MAN killed in a truck accident at Calliope last night is believed to have been a Rockhampton resident.
The crash occurred just after 8.15pm on the Bruce Highway north of Calliope.
Police are investigating the single vehicle traffic crash.
Initial investigations suggest a prime mover towing a trailer jacknifed and travelled off the highway.
A man believed to be in his 40s suffered serious head and chest injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The truck was registered to a company in Brisbane.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Perth Show Opens
This morning sees the opening of the Perth Truck and Trailer Show at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show’s 120 exhibitors have filled the exhibition hall, the foyer and a display area outside the venue with trucks, trailers and transport industry equipment.
On show is the new improved cabin interior for the Kenworth K 200, the latest iteration of the Isuzu N Series, Scania’s latest Euro 6 compliant trucks, a heavy duty Cat, the Iveco Powerstar 7800 road train prime mover and the all new Western Star 2800 medium duty truck.
Western Australia’s isolation, both in terms of distance and different truck regulations, means suppliers are offering variant not found elsewhere in Australia. This is probably most apparent in the trailers on display. Many designs on show are WA specific and this show is an opportunity for those supplying the WA trucking industry to put their equipment on show.
It’s not all serious stuff. A new Kids Zone has been included in the show. The 2015 show ambassador is ‘World’s Toughest Trucker’ star, Rodney Johnston, a man described by the organisers as, ‘an ordinary West Aussie bloke who loves driving his truck’. World’s Toughest Trucker was filmed in 2011 and has since been re-screened in Australia recently. Rodney was the Australian representative in the world-wide series and travelled to various countries to complete a range of challenges.