This Website is for Sale
Operation Sirius targets NSW operator after crashes
NEW South Wales police have targeted a truck company today after a number of its vehicles were allegedly involved in several crashes.
Officers from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command conducted the compliance operation, supported by inspectors from the Roads and Maritime Services.
They inspected 45 trucks and trailers, issuing 21 defect notices and 18 traffic infringement notices as part of Operation Sirius.
Police say two drivers were issued with field court attendance notices for fatigue breaches and three of the defect notices resulted in a major grounding of two trucks and trailer.
NSW police target a trucking company after their trucks were involved in a number of serious crashes.
One truck was found to be speed non-compliant.
Acting Commander of the State's Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said the responsibility to manage fatigue and to have all vehicles compliant and safe to operate lies with heavy vehicle owners, operators and drivers.
"We will work with the Roads and Maritime Service to ensure the industry is meeting the safety standards expected of all operators," Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
Acting General Manager of Compliance Paul Hayes said vehicles operating with defective brakes or with seatbelts not properly secured poses a severe road safety risk to the driver and other road users.
"Roads and Maritime message is clear, drivers and operators must ensure that their vehicles are safe to use and are regularly serviced and maintained," Mr Hayes said.
"Heavy vehicles found with such serious safety faults will be removed from NSW roads until repairs are carried out and are reinspected for the safety of all road users."
Revealed: Australia's top 10 selling trucks
Aussie-built trucks lead heavy-duty market but Isuzu still the stand-out performer
Judging by sales figures to the end of September, 2016 certainly won’t be remembered as a boom time for truck makers.
However, the good news is that the two biggest players in the premium heavy-duty category – Kenworth and Volvo – continue to manufacture or at least assemble their trucks in Australia.
What influence the ‘Aussie made’ factor has on customers’ buying decisions and actual sales volumes is difficult to quantify.
Yet it’s perhaps fair to assume that with Kenworth entrenched at number one in the heavy-duty contest and Volvo an increasingly close number two (with Brisbane-built corporate cohort Mack at number four), local engineering plays a significant role in tailoring trucks to Australian conditions and subsequently meeting the distinctive requirements of this market’s truck buyers.
Kenworth and Volvo are not, of course, the only brands putting trucks together in this country. Iveco continues to make and assemble a number of models led by the home-grown ACCO.
Of course, ACCO’s numbers are not what they once were and with Iveco holding just 5.1 per cent of the heavy-duty market up to the end of September, the brand’s performance is well short of inspiring.
Nonetheless, the sales of all locally built or assembled models from Kenworth, Volvo and Mack, and Iveco, amount to as much as 50 per cent of all the heavy-duty trucks sold in Australia.
Still, as the Truck Industry Council (TIC) recently commented, the heavy-duty sector continues to struggle for sales while down the weight scale, light and medium-duty markets are notching solid results.
According to TIC, the 2016 heavy-duty market "… is lagging 2015 results by 3.8 per cent with only 6947 heavy-duty trucks sold in Australia to the end of September this year".
Meanwhile, the total market for trucks is actually tracking up 2.4 per cent over the same period last year.
At the end of September Kenworth’s place at the head of the heavy-duty pack stood at a formidable 20.7 per cent with Volvo in second spot on a healthy 16.2 per cent.
Volvo Group Australia also stacks up best in the contest for corporate supremacy with its three brands – Volvo, Mack and UD – holding a collective 26.3 per cent of the heavy-duty contest to the end of September with the Paccar pairing of Kenworth and DAF on 23.6 per cent.
However, the big achiever in the heavy-duty stakes is third placegetter and overall market leader Isuzu.
Along with its powerful 43.1 per cent leadership of the light-duty market and 38 per cent domination of the medium-duty sector, Isuzu up to the end of September also held a respectable 13.8 per cent of the heavy-duty category.
From there it’s a quick slide into single figures with Mack on 8.6 per cent, then a congested scrap for minor placings: Scania on 6.4 per cent, Freightliner 6.2, Iveco 5.1, Mercedes-Benz 4.5, Fuso 4.1, Western Star 3.8, Hino 3.0, DAF 2.9, MAN 2.1, UD 1.5, and Cat and Dennis Eagle with just 0.7 and 0.3 percent respectively.
Yet despite all the attraction and emphasis of the heavy-duty truck business, it’s the smaller end where the Australian market remains strongest and where Japanese brands continue to hold absolute domination.
Powerhouse. Isuzu remains comfortable leader of the total truck market. Strong heavy-duty result is due in large part to a range of six and eight-wheeler models tailored to Australian requirements.
Four people have been injured after a truck, bus and van crash in Melbourne's north-east.
Emergency services were called to the intersection of Foote and Williamsons Road in Templestowe just before midday.
Ambulance Victoria said there were only a small number of people on the bus at the time.
One man aged in his 40s was trapped in the bus for about an hour.
He was later taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition with a leg injury.
Another man in his 60s was taken to the Austin Hospital in a stable condition with minor injuries.
A woman in the bus was treated by paramedics at the scene.
The van driver aged in his 60s was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
I need a wee
With news that truck platooning is coming to WA, Scotty Douglas considers where his dignity will go should nature call
There comes a point where no amount of wiggling, squirming or leg crossing will make a difference. At the end of the day, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.
Call it laziness, but I’ve always resented making an unscheduled pit stop. We all have our favourite wee stops. Usually a parking bay at the top of a hill where you can get back up to speed without too much in the way of cog swapping.
One of the disadvantages of existing on a diet made up largely of complex carbohydrates and caffeine is that it makes me wee, especially in winter. And nobody pays me enough to try and wee in a bottle while on the move and anyway, the price of failure is a little nasty. So when nature calls I’ll answer as soon as possible.
Which can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. I try and be civilised and use a toilet block rather than lurk in the bushes beside the truck. But sometimes there’s not a toilet block to use. One afternoon, with no other alternative in sight I pulled up in a nice country roadside area and began writing my name in the dust several times over.
Unfortunately, while I was mid-stream the local school bus showed up and pulled and disgorged a bunch of high school kids. It made for some fancy footwork on my part! The kids yelling at me out of the bus seemed to find it amusing anyway.
And that’s where I struggle with the concept of platooning. The idea of platooning is that a whole line of trucks effectively lock onto each other using radar and slipstream their way up the highway.
Each truck tucks into the other’s slipstream reducing fuel burn and takes up less space on the highway. The trucks effectively talk to each other and the drivers get a video display of the road ahead inside the cab as they sit in the driver’s seat and buy stuff on eBay. Or maybe watch funny animal memes. Or update their Facebook status.
The trucks can potentially be less than one second behind each other as the truck essentially drives itself using lane departure cameras to keep between the lines and radar cruise to stay with the truck in front. New This isn’t the stuff of fiction; it’s here already. Platooning has been trialed extensively in Europe and Western Australia has just signed up for a trial.
After a close call I had one night recently I’m not actually complaining. I was overtaking a car park when all of a sudden it lurched across the white line at me. I had to take a little drive half on the dirt shoulder before I got around the moron.
As the truck in question wobbled around in its lane though I could see the glow of a laptop computer open on the dashboard. I do not want my last words in this world to be PMSL.
But what I really want to know is, what happens if you need to use the loo while you’re platooning?
All of a sudden new technology means that you can happily sit there drinking a drum of coffee as you stare at the back doors of the truck in front. Surely you can’t expect everyone to pull up just because you need to go?
I’ve worked with some guys that pride themselves on the size of their bladders. It almost seemed to be a macho statement. One guy in particular seemed to be an actual bladder on legs, as much for what came out of his mouth when he spoke as for his ability to seemingly drive from Melbourne to Brisbane without needing to relive himself.
So what happens when you’re stuck in a platoon with this guy at the front?! Clearly you send a message to the rest of the platoon that you’re dropping out for a toilet stop. So then they all keep going and you have to explain to the boss why you dropped out of the platoon and as a consequence used more fuel? Or the whole platoon stops and hangs shit on you while you go? And could you even fit a platoon of B-doubles in a parking bay anyway?
Maybe the driver of the future will wear adult nappies to maximise drive time? Or maybe platooning prime movers will be fitted with toilets enabling the driver to go while on the move? I don’t know about you but I really wouldn’t want to be sitting on the crapper with my pants around my ankles at 100km/h when a steer tyre blows. And I certainly wouldn’t want the legacy of last night’s curry wafting around the cab either!
I’m all for technology and efficiency just not at the expense of a driver’s dignity. As it stands currently there’s already a lack of clean amenities and decent parking areas on Australian highways. And as I’ve said before, I’m not pissing in a bottle for anyone who isn’t a doctor!
Operation targets transporter in NSW
A heavy vehicle operator in New South Wales has been the focus of a police and highway patrol operation yesterday.
The operation, which is believed to have targeted Scott’s Transport, came as a result of its vehicles being allegedly involved in several crashes in the state, a police statement says.
Inspecting 45 trucks and trailers, Operation Sirius saw the road authorities issue 21 defect notices and 18 traffic infringement notices.
Three of the defect notices resulted in the major grounding of two trucks and a trailer, the statement says, and two of the company’s drivers were issued court attendance notices for fatigue breaches.
One truck also failed to be speed-compliant.
NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) acting general manager of compliance Paul Hayes says trucks cannot be operating with brake and seatbelt issues.
"Roads and Maritime message is clear, drivers and operators must ensure that their vehicles are safe to use and are regularly serviced and maintained," Hayes says.
"Heavy vehicles found with such serious safety faults will be removed from NSW roads until repairs are carried out and are reinspected for the safety of all road users."
Working with the RMS in the operation, NSW traffic and highway command’s acting commander and assistance commissioner Michael Corboy says both authorities will continue to work to ensure fatigue and vehicle compliance is maintained across the industry.
"We will work with the Roads & Maritime Service to ensure the industry is meeting the safety standards expected of all operators," Corboy says.
Scott’s Transport has been contacted for comment.
McAleese restructure plans start to surface
THE restructure of McAleese Limited has begun with administrators today confirming the Mackay and Rocklea depots are to close.
At the first creditors meeting it was heard that administrators McGrathNicol were hopeful that a proposal to restructure the business or parts of the group would lead to a better return for creditors than if McAleese was placed into administration.
So far administrators have been tight lipped about what is happening only saying they were reviewing the business and have started to make some decisions, those being staff cuts at Mackay and Rocklea with the view to progressively close those depots.
They are also refusing to say how many staff will lose their jobs at the two sites.
In the meantime, administrators are continuing to trade the rest of the businesses in the group as usual, while offering them up for sale.
Creditors were told back on September 8 that a six-month extension was being sought on the next meeting of creditors.
"Administrators consider that this is appropriate in these circumstances, rather than holding the second meeting of creditors at a time at which the prospects of a restructure will not have been exhausted and creditors may be left with no viable alternative other than to place the Group into liquidation,” the minutes of the meeting said.
At the meeting John Parker from the Transport Workers' Union claimed that some employees had not received super payments for more than 12 months.
Kim Boak representing DRB Haulage asked whether subcontractors would be paid out of the Cootes sale proceeds, the answer - it depends on the outcome of the sale process.
What we do know is that Mark Rowsthorn and Donald MacNichol Telford resigned as directors of the company effective from September 30.
The Federal Court of Australia extended the convening period for the second meeting of creditors up to March 28, 2017.
MAN TGX D38 arrives in Australia
Two years after it was released in Europe, Australian semi-trailer and B-double operators can now purchase a MAN TGX D38.
Launched today in Brisbane, the new MAN model represents a new start for the brand in Australia after a somewhat disappointing history in the local market.
Featuring a new Euro-6 compliant 411kW (560hp)/2,700Nm 15.2 litre straight-six engine, MAN tell us the new offering is ideal for operators looking for long distance transport solutions with the lowest possible cost of life.
Remarkably, the full torque capability is available at just 930rpm!
Several technologies built into the new MAN offering are promising to help reduce those running costs, including a 12-speed Traxion automated manual transmission, GPS-controlled cruise control and several fuel saving modes.
MAN is also boasting fuel savings for the new offering from its super-quick changing transmission.
The MAN TGX D38 also features a revolutionary closed particulate filter that uses a continuously regenerative system and this requires servicing very infrequently – in fact, MAN reckons this system won’t need to be looked at until at least 500,000km.
MAN is talking 70,000km service intervals on the new prime mover.
While the human being has also been thought of in the new truck’s cab with premium materials used throughout and features like a quality sound system coming as standard.
The switches and controls are well placed and easy to use and the bunk bucks the trend of downsizing and is a decent size.
I got to do a couple of loops of the Mount Cotton Driver Training Centre in Brisbane in the new MAN TGX D38 and I have to report that this is one pleasant and easy vehicle to drive.
The cabin is superb, quiet and with a feel that wouldn’t be out of place in a premium European car.
Light steering, responsive acceleration and quick-shifting transmission, the new MAN looked to be as capable and easy to operate as any of its competition.
MAN Truck and Bus Australia General Manager, Mark Mello, said he believes the new offering is a product the company can be proud of, from what I have seen and experienced, it looks like they certainly have.
Australian pricing for the new MAN semi-trailer wasn’t confirmed at today’s launch, however, Mr Mello did say that it would be priced “very competitively”.
Long used truck search pays off
Travelling long distances is no problem for Kalgoorlie-based Brendon Penn Crane Hire, its mobile cranes and the company’s 2007 Kenworth T650.
Brendon Penn’s versatile second-hand Kenworth T650 prime mover is one of the two crane support trucks owned by his business Brendon Penn Crane Hire, with the other a Volvo 8x4 prime mover.
While they both fill a variety of roles, their main job is to accompany the crane fleet when they head out, carrying the counterweights.
Based in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Brendon is quick to point out that Brendon Penn Crane Hire isn’t a transport company, although their two trucks are a vital part of the operation.
The Kenworth is a 2007 model featuring a Gen II Cummins Signature engine, an 18-speed gearbox, a six rod rear end and is rated at 130 tonne. It joined the company in a moment of luck for Brendon.
While he couldn’t justify the purchase price of a new prime mover, his search for a good second-hand triple-rated prime mover was coming to nil.
In fact, he was only a week away from ordering a brand-new Kenworth when he came across the T650.
"It was owned by Brad Mock from NSW," he recalls. "I don’t know what he has done to it but it goes really well."
Brendon wanted a short wheelbase because some of the sites on which they operate are very compact and the Kenworth was a perfect fit.
"We wanted a short wheelbase truck and the T650 has a short one, but is still a really comfortable truck to operate."
When Brendon bought the T650, it was covered in a very smart silver and maroon coat but a storm damaged it. It now shows off the Brendon Penn Crane Hire fleet colours.
"Presentation is a big thing for us," Brendon says. "The first impression is the lasting one and the Kenworth is a bit of a showpiece."
"I have never bought anything second-hand – it is always new equipment – but the trucks don’t make any money for us hauling counter weights, so the T650 suited our needs perfectly."
The fleet’s colours are very distinctive done in pastel blue and green beige.
"We wanted something different and that’s our brand."
Over the past 23 years, Brendon Penn Crane Hire has shifted between mine construction and maintenance work.
Keeping brakes compatible
There will soon be plenty of guidance for getting the best out of not only foundation brakes, but the much more complicated electronic systems as well
Chris Loose reckons English is a second language for a lot of engineers.
And that’s why Loose and numerous other technical experts who have been working on a guide to braking and stability performance for heavy combinations, are trying to keep it simple.
"We don’t want to overcomplicate it," says Loose, senior engineering advisor with the Australian Trucking Association. "Every operator who tries to read an engineering book won’t go past the title.
"We made it is as easy to understand as possible. An operator will focus on three key tables, and that’s probably all he’s going to have time for"
Those three tables are in the draft document which still needs real-world testing by operators.
The tables involve ratings across four classes of brake systems and three types of braking conditions.
The first class of brake system is what are called "dumb" brake systems, which are air only. The second type is load sensing valve brake systems, which are mechanical and air. The third is anti-lock brake system (ABS); and the fourth – and smartest – is electronic stability control.
These systems are rated against light or "normal" braking; heavy or "harsh" braking; and cornering or roll stability.
Smart truck and dumb trailers
The truck might have stability control, and the trailer might have TEBS (trailer electronic braking system) with roll stability, which would give the combination the top rating for both braking and roll stability.
But if the operator doesn’t plug in the power, it’s a dumb trailer.
Loose adds that with longer combinations you have to make sure the power goes right down to the back end -- at least 9 or 10 volts at the last control unit. "Without electrical grunt it’s (also) a dumb trailer."
And don’t try to stick a 24 volt lead into a 12 volt ABS system: "That will blow it up."
The tables apply equally to trailers attached by both fifth wheels or drawbars. However truck and dogs are inherently more unstable than semitrailers or B doubles.
Semis are connected by the fifth wheel, and are therefore roll-coupled. "A truck and trailer will tend to roll together," says Loose. "There is a link, so stability system on one of those units will help understand what’s going on with the other unit.
"With drawbar units though, between a dog trailer and a rigid or another trailer, they’re not roll-coupled, so one can roll independently of the other."
Loose adds that there are lots of different warning signs that there’s a brake compatibility problem, for example uneven brake wear; different brake temperatures; and wear on the kingpin.
Chris Loose says fleets should try and standardise their brake technologies, because they are often mixing and matching trucks and trailers.
That advice applies both to the electronic overlay systems as well as the foundation brake systems themselves.
Re foundation brakes: "If you have got disc brakes on the truck, put disc brakes on the trailer. Get the foundations to match. It just makes life easier."
While on the subject of foundation brakes, the ATA has just released a 15-page technical advisory procedure on slack adjuster setup and compliance to the new National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.
Meanwhile in May the ATA released the second edition of its 24-page technical advisory on ESC and the similar RSC (roll stability control).
Truck drivers trapped after NSW smash
Two truck drivers have been trapped for an hour before being flown to hospital after a horrific smash on a major NSW highway.
At 11.15am, a B-Double truck crossed the road and collided with a northbound truck on the Pacific Highway about 120km north of Newcastle, police were told.
The two male drivers were trapped inside their trucks for an hour as emergency services fought to free them and they were sent by helicopter to hospital with head and limb injuries.
Passengers from other cars were also caught up in the crash, with four more patients from a car towing a caravan and another car checked by ambulance crew but found to have no major injuries, NSW Ambulance said.
All northbound lanes of the highway and two of the three southbound lanes have been closed.
Truck falls into pit at Chandler rubbish dump
A truck laden with concrete has overbalanced to flip into a rubbish pit, crushing its cabin, at a dump in Brisbane.
The driver was lucky not to have been in the truck when the accident occurred at the Chandler Transfer Station on Saturday morning.
Witness Peter Zamecnik said it appeared the truck was overweighted with concrete in a skip on the back tray.
Mr Zamecnik said the skip had been loaded back-to-front, so was hard to empty.
"It flipped backwards upside down and completely smashed the cab.
"The guy is very lucky he was outside, working the controls, because the cab is non-existent, it's been crushed."
The Brisbane City Council understands the incident was caused by driver error.
"The rear stabilisers were not engaged, causing the heavy load to lose balance," a spokesperson said.
"Safety is Council's top priority, and Council's resource recovery centres adhere to strict safety procedures."
Drivers warned against electronic braking complacency
Some are pushing trucks fitted with electronic stability control to the limit, experts say
The experts say that electronic braking and stability technologies are about control, rather than absolute stopping distances.
They say the technologies are great for already-safe drivers who might encounter a sudden emergency situation, and of course there are plenty of those possibilities with idiot car drivers alone.
However advocates of electronic braking acknowledge there is a risk that drivers will become complacent and push the envelope, thinking the technology will save their bacon if they go too hard.
"It’s the guy behind the wheel 9 times out of 10 who controls the destiny of the vehicle, not the technology," says the Australian Trucking Association’s Chris Loose.
"And what we are tending to find is there is a small group of guys who will drive to the limit of the technology. So by having the technology, it’s fantastic, but physics is physics, it will not save them all the time, we still have to ensure that they have the skills."
Isuzu’s Romesh Rodrigo joined Loose in also warning about driver complacency at this year’s Comvec technical conference in Melbourne.
Rodrigo says drivers need education in the new electronic wizardry. He says while in some applications there have been less rollovers with stability control, there’s also been more wheel end damage.
"The drivers are now just driving to the limit, pushing these vehicles, and there’s a light flashing there but ‘Oh, gee, my truck hasn’t rolled over yet, so that’s a great thing’," says Rodrigo.
"But we’re not teaching the drivers that if that light is flashing, if that (ESC) plug falls out, that truck will be on its side."
Police investigate how fatal truck crash unfolded
ANDREW Lines was an experienced truck driver with years of experience behind him when tragedy struck on a rural road west of Toowoomba early Sunday morning.
The water tanker he was driving rolled on a 90-degree left-hand bend on Kumbarilla Ln, a rural road used as a delivery route between gas fields near Kumbarilla on the Western Downs about 8.10am Sunday
A man has been killed in a truck roll over on the Western Downs. 7 News Toowoomba. 7 News Toowoomba
Police are yet to determine the cause of the crash and are expected to probe a number of potential factors after the 35-year-old Tamborine man was found inside the overturned vehicle.
Chinchilla Forensic Crash Unit investigator Sergeant Gerard Brady said inquiries were expected to take into account several factors including the road surface and signs, as well as whether fatigue or driver inattention contributed to the fatality in a signed 100kmh zone.
"At this stage it doesn't appear speed was a factor in the crash," he said.
Sgt Brady said witness statements had been taken from the person first on scene, and urged anyone with dash camera footage to contact Chinchilla police on 4662 7200.
Truck engulfed in flames on Bruce after driver dodges cow
A truck was engulfed in flames on the Bruce Hwy.
A DRIVER swerved to miss a cow before his truck was engulfed in flames, according to Gladstone police.
The Bruce Highway has now re-opened but the charred structure of the truck remains on the roadside.
A truck was engulfed in flames on the Bruce Hwy.,
BOTH lanes of Bruce Hwy near Raglan were shut down this morning after a truck caught alight.
One lane of the highway remains closed while police have opened the other to let heavy vehicles pass through.
Paramedics were called to the "truck fire" at about 4.45am this morning, a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said.
But the spokeswoman said the driver of the truck escaped uninjured.
Sergeant Kent Haley, of Gladstone Police, said he understood the truck had swerved to miss a cow.
But it's not yet known how the truck caught on fire, or if it made contact with the cow.
International trucks re-launch in local market
International trucks are making a comeback to the Australian market with announcement of a new distribution plan by parent company Navistar.
The new deal will see CNH Industrial - owner of the Iveco truck brand - appointed sole distributor of the brand locally, providing certainty after months of speculation since talks were outlined at last year’s Brisbane truck show.
Details are still being finalised, including evaluation of truck models, to ensure the brand is organised from the outset.
The return of International to Australia, and its tie-in with Iveco and its Dandenong, Melbourne facility is a homecoming to the site where International trucks were built or assembled since 1952.
The current Iveco Acco range shares its lineage with earlier models developed under International.
Navistar Sr. VP Distribution & Export, Mark Belisle, said the company would tap into the brand’s strong Australian reputation.
“Despite not having sold here for a number of years, ‘Inter’ is still entrenched in the Australian market and remembered fondly by fleet operators,” he said.
“Of course the return of the brand to Australia meant establishing a partnership with a company that was well equipped to assist in properly relaunching in the local market.
“In CNH Industrial we’ve found a partner with the necessary credentials and industry experience to help Navistar meet its goals here.
“The close history between CNH Industrial’s Iveco brand and International is not lost on us either, it adds an element of emotion to the partnership,” he said,
“We look forward to the months ahead and bringing some exciting new International vehicles to market.”
CNH Industrial executive managing director – ANZ, Ray Osgood, agreed saying the deal would tap into the truck’s local history.
“International had a long and successful history in Australia and dominated the commercial vehicle market for several decades – there remains a lot of passion for the brand here today, and it still has a lot of equity in this market.
“Our operational experience with Iveco and the obvious synergies and history between the two brands will provide notable efficiencies as the International range is introduced in the months ahead.
“The International product range, primarily consisting of conventional cabs, will compliment Iveco’s strengths in cab-over truck models.”