An inquest has been told the driver involved in a fatal crash at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway was making the descent in a truck for the first time.
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A New South Wales truck company has pleaded guilty to more than 150 charges of drivers working dangerously long hours.
Wollongong-based McCabe Transport was originally charged with 235 offences related to drivers not properly recording their work times in November and December 2011.
Company director Anthony McCabe pleaded guilty to 159 of the charges.
Going through each of the charges in detail, prosecutor Gabrielle Bashir told Downing Centre Local Court one driver on a long-haul trip between Dubbo, Broken Hill and Port Pirie in South Australia did not have an adequate break or keep a work diary.
She said the number of charges suggested the company had "a culture of non-compliance which at the very least was tolerated".
The court also heard allegations that some trip documents were falsified.
Magistrate William Pierce noted some of the offences were serious but is yet to hand down a sentence.
Company could face hefty fines
McCabe and his company could face hefty fines after the court heard each of the offences carried maximum penalties of thousands of dollars.
None of the McCabe Transport drivers have been prosecuted because they were offered immunity for helping investigators from Roads and Maritime Services.
The court heard under NSW regulations, truck drivers working on their own were allowed to drive for a maximum of 12 hours in a 24-hour period.
Recently, another trucking company, Cootes, was fined $500,000 in NSW and $50,000 in Victoria after pleading guilty to hundreds of road safety breaches.
Cootes was involved in a fatal tanker crash on Sydney's northern beaches last year. The truck was carrying 20,000 litres of fuel and some of it ran into nearby waterways.
In June, a NSW court fined Scott's Transport and two senior staff $1.25 million for speeding and speed limit tampering.
Source: ABC NEWS
Industry group wants changes to tolls when new truck curfews take effect.
The VTA wants tolls removed on trucks using the Bolte Bridge at night.
Tolls on trucks using the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne would be removed at night under a proposal from the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The lobby group has put forward the plan in light of a government decision to announce new truck bans and curfews on residential streets in Melbourne’s inner west that have been used to travel to and from the Port of Melbourne.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson says trucks will be forced to use the Bolte Bridge when restrictions on using residential streets are imposed.
"What the VTA and its members would like to see is some forward thinking and common sense by road authorities and operators," Anderson says.
"Given the existing and new night curfews in the access areas near the port precinct, the VTA is calling on a removal of tolls along the Bolte Bridge at night when these curfews come into play and drivers have no alternative but to travel along the toll road."
Anderson has also warned Transurban’s decision to increase tolls on heavy vehicles using the CityLink network from April 2017 will encourage more companies to use residential streets to avoid the impost.
Transurban made the decision to increase tolls to help cover the planned $850 million investment in widening the CityLink Tullamarine corridor. Extra lanes will be added and works are due to begin from early next year and finish in 2018.
The VTA estimates the increase will cost the trucking industry $130 million.
"Trucks already pay 1.9 times the toll of cars on CityLink, but will pay up to three times more than cars on the same stretch of road when the increase is introduced," Anderson says.
"Truck drivers and operators are already being chastised for travelling on inner city streets, particularly in residential areas adjacent to the CityLink/Tullamarine Freeway corridor. But faced with excessive and dramatic additional toll costs it’s anticipated that transport operators will seek alternative routes along local roads to contain costs and overheads," he says.
Anderson says operators will not be able to absorb the increase and will try and pass it on to their customers.
How’s this for a painful sight? It’s trailer full of new BMW M3s that were damaged in the making of the upcoming action blockbuster Mission Impossible 5.
Those who know their recent Mission Impossible movies will recognise BMW as one of the main car manufacturers behind the cars used in the various films. In Mission Impossible 4 a BMW i8 concept was used.
It’s understood the M3s on the truck were used for a chase scene in Morocco. Photos were sent into Motor.es, showing the cars on a truck in Gibraltar, which is the main shipping and ferry dock from Spain to Morocco.
Unfortunately, all of the M3s appear to be quite heavily damaged. On the plus side, we can look forward to some awesome chase scenes and carnage in the upcoming movie.
According to reports the M3s only use the body, wheels and brakes from actual M3 models, while the rest underneath is stripped out, with various other components used for certain areas.
Mission Impossible 5 is set to hit cinemas in the US on December 5. An Australian release date couldn’t be found at the time of writing.
ARM WRESTLE: It was a race to see who would lead last year’s Brisbane Convoy for Kids. In a hard-fought battle Scuzzy (Andrew McSweeny left) conceeded to Barry Land the night before the convoy. Sean Owensbig Rigs
ONE of Brisbane's biggest trucking events, the Brisbane Convoy for Kids is set to roll on November 1.
But it's not just the trucks that you will want to see - already confirmed is country star Jayne Denham, Terry Kennedy, Shotgun Duo and Darren Scott to perform on the day.
Convoy for Kids treasurer Leanne Dinning said the committee expected big numbers this year with Hastings Deering Cat coming on board as a sponsor.
Utes muster at the Redcliffe Showgrounds for the Brisbane Convoy for Kids.
So far 2012 leader Andrew "Scuzzy" McSweeny is once again competing to lead the convoy by raising the most money, and so is 2013 leader Barry Land.
But with only five trucks in contention for the lead there's five places in the top ten left.
All the money raised from the Brisbane Convoy for Kids, which became a registered Australian charity this year, ends up being donated to charity.
Last year Riding for the Disabled received $25,000. This year's main beneficiaries will be the Redcliffe and Beenleigh special schools.
The committee also hopes to donate some money to Riding for the Disabled again, and to the Emerikus Land Foundation.
"We try and spread the money around to help as many people as we can," Ms Dinning said.
The convoy leaves Stradbroke St at Healthwood at 9.30am on November 1 and heads to the Redcliffe Showgrounds where gates open at 11am for a family fun day.
On the day there will be a truck and ute competition as well as a truck pull and displays, rides, stalls, fireworks and more.
Camping is available, see www.brisbaneconvoyforkids. com.au.
The Brisbane Convoy for Kids leaves Larapinta bound for Redcliffe.
1. Chris Wilson, TKE Haulage.
2. Roger Smith with '88 Volvo
3. Scuzzy with Ned Kelly
4. Scuzzy with Raw Hide (stock crate)
5. Barry Land, Land Transport
Source: Big Rigs
TNT adds more Hinos to Australia’s largest hybrid truck fleet.
TNT fleet and equipment manager Kurt Grossreider
Courier company TNT Australia will add 24 Hino 300 series hybrids to its fleet, bringing the total number up to 54.
TNT says that it will use the hybrid trucks to replace regular diesel vehicles in order to reduce its carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.
"Our hybrid vehicles have proven that they are not only up to the task in bolstering our delivery network and providing our drivers with a safe and dependable vehicle: they're doing this in a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly manner," TNT fleet and equipment manager Kurt Grossrieder says.
Over a four year period, TNT say that its existing fleet of 30 hybrid trucks has emitted 112 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide in comparison to a regular diesel fleet.
"The 24 new hybrid trucks will expand our hybrid fleet and once again reduce our total output of greenhouse gases while using less fuel, which is a positive step for TNT and the environment," Grossrieder adds.
The Hino hybrids have both a 100kW (134hp) diesel engine and a 36kW (48hp) electric motor. The truck aims to deliver maximum efficiency by switching between modes depending on the driver conditions. The truck can run in electric drive-only mode if it comes across stop-start traffic, for example.
The 2015 Shell Rimula Alice Springs Wall of Fame Reunion looks set to be the biggest gathering on record, if this year’s event is anything to go by.
The Alice Springs convoy en route to the National Road Transport Museum.
Road Transport Historical Society organisers and volunteers were kept ‘on the hop’ when a larger that expected number of attendees rolled up for the annual National Road Transport Hall of Fame Reunion. More than 100 new inductees were added to the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame on August 30, including a very surprised Whiteline Australia director Sharon Middleton.
In addition, retired managing director of Brown & Hurley, Jim Hurley was presented with an Icon of the Industry award at this induction ceremony.
It was estimated that around 800 people walked through the doors at the National Road Transport Museum, which is owned and operated by the Road Transport Historical Society.
As well as the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame induction ceremony, the ‘long weekend’ of events from August 28 to September 1 included the Cummins Cup Race Day, the Buntine Reunion, the Cat Trucks Day, including the convoy through town, the Owner//Driver Meet The Milemaker Luncheon, and the Shell Rimula Gala Dinner.
Dinner guests also enjoyed pre-dinner drinks at the Kenworth Dealer Hall of Fame, before being entertained by top Melbourne country-rock band The Giants.
Next year will be five-yearly ‘big event’, where more than 200 inductees will be added to the Wall of Fame.
Rod Hannifey proposes all-in-one rest areas, as figures show severe lack of acceptable sites in NSW
Man with a plan: Rod Hannifey is pushing for a better deal on rest areas for truck drivers.
Rest areas capable of accommodating truck drivers and motorists at the one site should be built, trucking industry advocate Rod Hannifey says.
Hannifey has put forward a plan that would end the traditional approach of governments providing separate rest areas for truck drivers and travellers.
Hannifey, who has spent years pushing for better rest areas, says sites should have dedicated sections for caravans and stock crates and fridge vans, while also providing separate spots for those taking short breaks and long breaks.
Under his approach, everyone will share facilities that include toilets, playgrounds, an amenities block, barbecues, tables and chairs and shelter.
Hannifey told ATN he is concerned truck drivers will continue to put up with sub-par facilities if authorities continue building separate rest areas for truck drivers and the general public.
"What happens then is they go and spend all the money on the car and caravan facilities and we get nothing as usual. We get a bit of dirt and a rubbish bin if we’re lucky," Hannifey says.
"You will never get them to build additional facilities for us. You will certainly get them to build good facilities for cars and caravans and if we don’t get included we will get left out."
His plan includes a ‘caravan corner’, which Hannifey believes will help prevent problems happening now when travellers decide to use heavy vehicle rest areas.
"The issue with caravaners is they pull up late in the afternoon and think, ‘we’ll stay here for the night’...When they pull-up and go to bed they don’t think of anybody else because there’s no-one else there," he says.
"Of course what happens about 10, 11, 12 that night, we all start trooping in and trying to find a park and if they haven’t parked well out of the way, the way they park means that one truck can’t get in in front and one can’t get behind so he parks to the side and the next one’s crooked and then the fourth one can’t get in at all."
Hannifey says keeping stock crates and fridge vans in one section will ensure the noise from the vehicles does not disturb others.
Under his proposal, the ‘caravan corner’ will be allocated to the left of the area, with stock crates and fridge vans on the opposite side.
Front and rear parking bays will border the amenities, with trucks having access to the section for long breaks and cars restricted to the area for short stops.
"Truckies wishing to sleep at night will not be disturbed by those stopping for short breaks," Hannifey says.
He has also responded to recent comments from New South Wales roads minister Duncan Gay, who suggested having truck drivers reserve parking spots at rest areas in advance.
"Until the day where we have enough parking bays in Australia, how are you ever going to be able to book a rest area when there simply aren’t enough spots now?" Hannifey says.
The NSW road authority, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), says it is committed to providing rest areas along key routes to give truck drivers a safe place to take a break.
However, only about 7 per cent of sites in NSW qualify as ‘major rest areas’ which, according to National Transport Commission (NTC) guidelines, must have toilets, shade, shelter, bins and tables and chairs, generous parking spaces, sealed road and be at 100km intervals.
"The NSW Government is identifying existing rest areas which can be upgraded to major heavy vehicle rest areas. Of the more than 1,400 rest areas across NSW, 101 currently qualify as major heavy vehicle rest areas," a spokesperson for the RMS says.
The agency says most rest areas in NSW are under the control of councils.
Earlier this year it issued a directive to local governments to erect signs at rest areas under their control to inform motorists camping was not permitted.
A spokesperson for the RMS says camping at rest areas is a health and safety issue because there are limited amenities available.
"Campers may also restrict space for heavy vehicle operators required to stop and take obligatory breaks," the spokesperson says.
The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) last month took aim at travellers who set up camp at rest areas.
"These are not camping spots and pretend caravan parks so people should not be putting up their awnings and having their cups of tea. These are dedicated rest areas for truckies and we need to be making sure there are plenty of those," ATA NSW manager Jodie Broadbent says.
"Our rest areas for freight vehicles are very important so they [drivers] can comply with legislative requirements, and having somebody set up their caravan and camp there is entirely inappropriate."
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) urged all Victorian road users to consider the way they interact with heavy vehicles.
This week, VTA CEO Peter Anderson joined John Merritt, Chief Executive VicRoads and Neville Taylor, Acting Assistant Police Commissioner, on 3AWs Neil Mitchell program.
The segment focused on the important role that heavy vehicles play in society and the need for all motorists to interact safely with trucks on the road. “Trucks are responsible for the delivery of everyday essential items to our warehouses, supermarkets and stores,” Anderson said.
“Without heavy vehicles we wouldn’t be able to live our lives the way we do. The transport industry benefits all of society.
“Currently, road vehicles carry an estimated 84 percent of Victoria’s total land freight task so the chances of motorists encountering heavy vehicles on the roads is extremely high.
“As an industry body we expect truck drivers to be considerate of other road users and we urge the community to inform the relevant authorities if they witness unlawful behaviour; however we are seeing increased instances of poor decisions and risk taking from car drivers when mixing with trucks on the road.
Mr Anderson added, “In many instances drivers and the dash cams installed in many heavy vehicles are capturing motorists cutting too close in front of trucks when entering the road or changing lanes.
“This can be extremely dangerous and what the VTA urges society to understand is the distance it takes a truck to come to a stop; it is a much greater distance than that of a car due to the sheer size and weight of these heavy vehicles.
“The VTA appreciates that interacting with heavy vehicles on the road can be daunting, but there is no reason why heavy vehicles and other motorists can not share the road safely and efficiently.”
Source: Prime Mover
Truck drivers who are paid by the trip or the kilometre take fewer breaks and more drugs when driving, a new study has found.
In a paper presented to an international conference in Berlin this week, two Monash University researchers studied the way truck drivers' compensation related to fatigue behind the wheel.
About 350 drivers in NSW and WA were surveyed over two years, in one of the largest studies of driver behaviour and compensation undertaken in Australia.
The researchers found that drivers who were paid a "piece rate" – or on a per-kilometre or per-trip basis – drove for an average of up to 5.3 hours between breaks. This was an hour longer than those paid a salary or hourly wage.
"Anything above four hours is really starting to get into higher-risk territory," Jason Thompson, a co-author of the study and research fellow at the Monash Accident Research Centre, said.
More than 70 per cent of drivers surveyed were paid on an incentive, piece rate basis, a figure that rose even higher among NSW drivers.
Drivers paid on an incentive basis were also more likely to admit to using amphetamines behind the wheel: nearly 10 per cent of those who were paid per trip did so, compared with 2 per cent for those paid per kilometre and none on weekly or hourly wages.
"They reported all the signs of trying to fight sleepiness," Mr Thomson said. "The fact that people are trying to fight fatigue and some people are going to lose that fight is concerning."
Drivers on incentive payments reported slightly less sleepiness and fatigue. They also drove up to 150 kilometres a day more on average and were more likely to have slept in their truck the night before.
The new research comes as the federal government considers the future of the Gillard government's Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, a national body with the power to set pay and conditions for truck drivers.
A review into the body was handed to Employment Minister Eric Abetz but is yet to be released.
The minister has told the Federal Parliament there was no evidence to justify claims of a link between remuneration and safety but declined to comment for this story.
Transport Workers' Union assistant state secretary Michael Aird said the study's findings proved a link between pressure on drivers and safety.
"There needs to be safe rates for truck drivers if lives are to be saved," Mr Aird said. "The Prime Minister needs to decide if he'll back truck drivers and the community and support the RSRT's efforts to deal with the systemic issues causing over 300 deaths a year."
National Road Transport Association chief executive Chris Melham said he backed the abolition of the national regulator.
"Despite an increase in the number of heavy vehicles on our roads and the distances travelled, accidents involving heavy vehicles are continuing to reduce at an increased rate," he said.
Heavy trucks make up about 3 per cent of road traffic but more than 15 per cent of fatalities, according to the federal department of transport.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Procedural errors bring Sargeant Transport undone.
Sargeant Transport says David Cowan's actions breached the company's driver manual.
A truck driver sacked after being caught urinating outside a Woolworths distribution centre has received around $14,000 in compensation after winning an unfair dismissal claim.
David Cowan took his former employer, Sargeant Transport, to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) after the company fired him in March this year.
A CCTV camera at the Woolworths distribution centre at Barnawatha in north-east Victoria caught Cowan relieving himself while waiting for his truck to be granted entry to the site.
Woolworths responded by banning him from all of its sites for three months.
Sargeant Transport viewed the camera footage and then decided to sack Cowan on the basis he breached the company’s driver manual that requires all employees "to conduct themselves in a polite and courteous professional manner".
However, FWC commissioner Michelle Bissett found that the trucking operator failed to follow the correct procedure for dismissing an employee.
Bissett says Sargeant Transport and its human resources manager, Kate Jewell, did not tell Cowan of the allegations and evidence against him or give him an opportunity to respond when told he was being sacked.
"I find it disturbing that neither Ms Jewell nor anyone else from the Respondent sat with the Applicant and explained to him the allegations, the evidence and the potential consequences of the allegations if proven, nor asked him why he should not be subject to a disciplinary outcome (including dismissal)," Bissett says in her written judgment.
"At no stage was any allegation put to the Applicant in writing, nor the extent of the evidence explained to him. Further, some relevant information, such as the length of the ban from Woolworths, was not given to the Applicant."
Bissett awarded Cowan $16,128 in compensation, but deducted from that amount payment he received from Sargeant in lieu of notice.
Cowan blamed the incident on a case of "urinary urgency" brought on by his diabetes. He says he did not have time to wait until he gained entry to the distribution centre and the toilet facilities inside there.
"He said if he did not urinate then he would have wet himself, something he says would have been unacceptable to the Respondent and to Woolworths and would have caused him great embarrassment," Bissett says.
Cowan managed to pick up work since leaving Sargeant Transport is now once again delivering freight to Woolworths distribution centres.
Investigators have criticised a northern Victorian council and the state's regional rail operator, for not following up concerns about a level crossing before a crash at the site.
In February last year, a semi-trailer lost its load when it collided with a passenger train near Kerang.
A report into the crash has found train operator V/Line and the Gannawarra Shire were aware of problems in seeing ahead at the crossing but did not follow up the issue.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says the incident highlights the need for rail and road authorities to be proactive.
The investigation also found the truck driver's view was partially obscured because of an embankment and the road's angle, while the train was found to have exceeded track speeds on three seperate occasions before the collision.
The bureau has recommended the authority VicTrack review road angles and V/Line has since dropped the speed of approaching trains.
Source: ABC NEWS
TRAGEDY: The grim crash scene on Pages Road at Pages Flat on Thursday morning. Picture: DAVE CRONIN Source: News Limited
A WILLUNGA man whose car collided with a kangaroo before slamming into an oncoming truck, has been described as “incredibly unlucky” by shocked residents who have called for the speed limit in the area to be lowered.
The man, 38, died at the scene after a truck collided with his early model Holden Astra at Pages Flat, south of Adelaide, this morning just before 6.30am.
BeV Banning and her husband Walter were in bed when they heard what they thought was a tree falling before making the grim realisation that a horrific accident had occurred on Pages Flat Rd about 50m from their home.
“We were in the process of waking up and we heard an almighty thud,” Mrs Banning said.
“We’ve been living here for two and a half years and we’ve anticipated something like this.”
The couple said traffic along the road often escalates and that the 100km/h speed limit is too fast for the road.
Police at the scene of the fatal crash at Pages Flat.
“”When you’re going at that speed and a kangaroo comes out on the road — you’ve got nowhere to go,” Mr Banning said.
“It is not a 100km/h road and that poor man is just incredibly unlucky that a truck happened to be travelling past at the time.
“The road should be reduced to 80km/h.”
Seargent Sean Bell could not comment on whether the kangaroo was involved in the incident but offered a warning to motorists travelling in rural areas.
“We believe that the car was travelling west on Pages Flat Rd and for some reason there has been a collision with the front of the truck,” he said.
“There is a kangaroo deceased on the side of the road but I can’t comment as to whether that was involved in the incident.
“We’re coming into the warmer weather and in rural areas you do see a lot of roos on the road and you’ve just got to be mindful about your speed and what might be jumping out in front of you.”
The truck driver and a passenger were taken to Flinders Medical Centre with minor injuries after the crash.
The man’s death takes the state’s road toll to 73 compared to 78 at the time last year.
Source: The Australian
An Australian-first project will see a mobile cardiology 'clinic on wheels' start rolling in Queensland.
The specially equipped Heart of Australia semi-trailer will be staffed by some of the State's top medical professionals as it travels through rural and remote communities.
Project founder Dr Rolf Gomes says the public-private partnership is about bringing life-saving services to the bush.
"People from Longreach are driving to the Royal Brisbane Hospital to see a specialist, and having to come back a fortnight later.
"They're often sleeping in cars; travelling for days on the road... and we're talking about sick people here.
"So it's about delivering all that to the doorsteps of these communities."
Currently, those living in rural and remote areas of Australia are 44 per cent more likely to die from heart disease than their city-dwelling counterparts.
Dr Gomes says the $1.5 million service will provide diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for a range of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.
"The beauty of the program is that we now have the potential to close that loop from symptom to diagnosis to treatment, potentially within 24 hours.
"So within a few minutes, you'll know if that pain in your chest has to do with your heart or not.
"When you detect these problems early you can intervene, and certainly save lives."
Dr Gomes credits his experience as a junior doctor in regional Queensland as being the catalyst for the idea.
"I personally felt it confronting and thought that there must be a better way to do things."
The Heart of Australia project will commence a circuit of south-west Queensland on Saturday, starting in St George.
Friends and family members converged on the town of Alice Springs to witness the induction of Clare Valley and Mid North road transport pioneers Dean Earle, the late Stan Heinrich, Noel Wiech and Ken Salter into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame last month.
The Hall of Fame pays tribute to the significant contribution and lifetime commitment drivers have made to the road transport industry.
“Road transport has never been given its rightful place in history, yet it has been crucial in opening up Australia’s wealth producing industries, including mining, farming and pastoral activities,” Liz Martin OAM, CEO of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, said.
This year’s event saw about 100 new inductees added to the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame induction is part of a four day event in Alice Springs which also includes a Gala Dinner and Annual Cummins Cup Truckie’s Race Day at the Alice Springs Turf Club.
Source: Northern Argus