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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.”
Respecting the road repairer
Many truckies bemoan the state of Australian highways, but aren’t keen on road repairs slowing them down either – just ask Peter Hackett.
Like every state in Australia, Tasmania needs road repairs and that provides constant work for those who deliver hot mix to the road crews and supplies to the asphalt plant.
Peter Hackett has been driving trucks for over 40 years and has been in the bitumen industry for 33 of those, sometimes to the annoyance of motorists and other truck drivers.
"We do disrupt their day as they do need to slow down, stop and wait – you see their mannerisms and behaviour change quite a bit.
"Some get a bit cranky while others just wave and smile."
Patience is required in his business, whether you are spraying bitumen, laying asphalt or delivering pre-coat stone. Like a lot of transport jobs, a delay down the line means a delay for Peter.
"You can get to a job and things aren’t just quite right and find you may have to wait around for some time," he says, but "most of the time, you get to the job site and the boys are ready for us."
Peter is based in Launceston and drives a Volvo for Venarchie Contracting. The fleet consists of 10 body trucks, five trailers, bitumen sprayers, rollers and an asphalt plant.
"Venarchie have their own sprayer and crews and is pretty much self-sufficient in everything they do" he describes.
Peter moved to Tasmania from far-north Queensland in December 2008.
"It was a great move," he says. "I love it down here as everything seems to move a bit slower."
Peter’s first truck was a Leyland Albion and at age 19 was carting roof tiles from Townsville to Tully and general goods from Cairns to Mackay.
Peter’s Volvo is an FH12 with 500hp and an I-Shift speed gearbox.
"I like the Volvo, it is very comfortable," he says. "They are a great truck."
When it comes to taking the Volvo out on the Tasmanian roads, Peter doesn’t understand what the locals are complaining about.
"The roads over here aren’t too bad! I find them pretty good to be honest," he says.
Reduced sentence for Colbert in driver death case
Peter Colbert will spend at least seven and a half years in prison for being guilty of manslaughter
Adelaide trucking company boss Peter Colbert’s sentence has been reduced to 10 years during the final resentencing on Tuesday.
South Australian Supreme Court sentenced Colbert to 10 years and six months jail with a non-parole period of seven years and five months, commencing from September 2016.
Colbert was twice found guilty of manslaughter of employee Robert Brimson and for endangering another driver’s life.
Brimson lost his life when his truck veered off the road and crashed into a pole in Happy Valley, a suburb in Adelaide south.
During the sentence hearing this week, Justice Malcolm Blue found Colbert guilty of the two crimes after failing to heed warnings that his truck had faulty brakes.
The judge described Colbert’s negligence as "the culmination of a course of conduct over two months" which left one driver dead and another suffering psychological ramifications.
The Colbert Transport boss was earlier sentenced to 12 years in prison in the same case, but had won an appeal against the conviction in February this year.
The appeals court had found that the trial court judge’s summing of the case was unbalanced and the jurors needed further directions in the case.
Scania research puts warning signs to the test
Working with German researchers, Scania has tested the brain activity of drivers as they hear warning alerts
Swedish truck maker Scania has teamed up with a German research centre to examine how drivers react to warning sounds.
Held at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, the tests recorded the brain activity of 16 drivers as they drove a simulated stretch of road for 25 minutes and noted their ability to react to audible warnings.
Each driver drove the road twice as 12 different alert sounds were played a total of 20 times. When the driver heard the noise, they pressed a button.
Equipped with an electroencephalography (EEG) cap from the German company Brain Products, the driver’s scalps were fitted to 64 electrodes to measure the activity of different parts of the brain.
Technology often used to diagnose brain diseases, such as epilepsy, it was used to provide an insight into the suitability of certain sounds in eliciting the correct driver response.
"A warning sound prepares the driver for taking or avoiding an action," says Christiane Glatz, a doctoral student in cognitive neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute, who led the trial.
"A good warning sound should be understood immediately and without ambiguity. There should be no need for deep contemplation.
"Verbal commands can be understood clearly, but they might require more mental resources to process than auditory cues that we are familiar with.
"For example, we immediately recognise an ambulance siren and its changing pitch as an indication of its moving direction."
The problem though, as Glatz says, is the influence of cultural factors on a driver’s reaction.
"If a horn is sounded on German or Swedish roads we probably pay attention. But an Italian driver perhaps wouldn’t care at all," she says.
The analysis of the collected data is currently underway.
Five Tips To Help You Be A Better Owner-Driver
It’s empowering to become your own boss, do things your way and be responsible for your business. However, being an owner-driver is not without its pitfalls so we’ve compiled a few tips to help you stay ahead of the pack and become your own best business asset.
1. Stay up to date
Be aware of the business environment you operate in. At any given time there may be a change in regulation or new law passed that can affect you, such as vehicle regulations, pay rate regulations and even changes in road rules. Signing up to industry news subscriptions and remaining alert for announcements on road transport and legislation changes will help you function more efficiently in an ever-changing landscape.
2. Minimise your downtime
Keeping your business on the road is crucial for success and you are responsible for maximising every hour within the working day. Plan for any possible outcomes and follow the ‘5 P rule’ – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Staying on top of servicing, using genuine parts and not putting off any maintenance will also contribute to the profitability of your business.
3. Manage your cash flow
Allocating funds can sometime be overwhelming. Even if your servicing costs are capped and any franchising fees are set in stone, costs such as insurance, fuel and other overheads can fluctuate and add unplanned expense. It’s highly advisable that all these expenditures, planned and unplanned, are tracked. Even if you are not the best at accounting, developing a budget tracking document allows you to predict, monitor and track your finances to avoid any nasty surprises.
4. Sometimes you don’t need the best to be your best
A common mistake many owner drivers make in their early years of operation is the over-speccing of their trucks. While you should always factor in some flexibility in case you need to go that bit further with your truck, you also need to be realistic about your needs. Some ‘nice-to-haves’ might go to waste under your ownership and only come in handy for whoever might buy your truck later – not to mention the unnecessary over-capitalisation for your business. Be sure to consult with your sales person on which chassis, body and attachments will suit your needs.
5. If it’s seen, keep it clean!
While it’s true that first impressions last, lasting impressions count for more. Even if you make the world’s greatest initial impression on your clients, a dirty and poorly maintained vehicle looks unprofessional and will stick in their minds. Keeping your truck clean and investing in repairs will help clients respond more positively towards you and help build a better rapport with them. As we like to say, ‘if it’s seen, keep it clean!’.
Lights On The Hill’s Easter parade
Major format changes added up to a great couple of days for the 2016 Lights On The Hill Memorial Convoy.
There was little hesitation when K.S. Easter received an invitation to lead the westbound section of the Lights On The Hill convoy on Saturday, October 1. However, it didn’t have as far to travel as previous convoys. In a major change, the starting points of the twin convoys were moved closer to Gatton in a bid to keep the trucks grouped together.
The eastbound convoy began from the new industrial area at Roches Road, Withcott, while the westbound convoy originated from Citiswich Industrial Park, Bundamba.
The other major changes were moving the date from February to October – evading the oppressive Queensland summer heat – and transforming it into a two-day event.
As per 2015, this year’s Lights On The Hill was held at the Gatton Racecourse.
A Lockyer Valley Regional Council-owned Mack tipper, bearing a tribute to the late mayor Steve Jones, led the eastbound convoy, arriving at the Gatton Racecourse well before the K.S. Easter-led westbound convoy. Steve Jones passed away in February this year at the age of 54.
Scotty Christoff had the honour of driving the lead truck from Bundamba; a Kenworth T409SAR, one of 13 K.S. Easter trucks in the convoy and the showpiece of the fleet.
"The 409 is a personal favourite, and Matty Easter loves it," Scotty says.
"They’ve only got five of the SARs, but this is the best looking one. It’s got a lot more bling on it than some of the others."
As well as Kenworths, Easter’s fleet had a number of Western Stars and, of course, it’s show-stealing FH Volvo with eye-catching flaming stallion artwork. Scotty however remains unimpressed with the Volvo’s flashy credentials. "It’s got flashy paint … it’s just on a Volvo," he grins.
Lights On The Hill committee president Kerry Wilkins was pleased with the turnout, and while he couldn’t put a finger on truck numbers, the participation proved to be a big thumbs up for the event's new format.
"It’s been a huge turnout," Kerry says. "We’ve got a helluva lot of people here, our camping ground is chock-a-block, there’s not a cloud in the sky, great music, great atmosphere and a great mob of drivers.
"There’s not much more we could ask for."
The Saturday convoy was followed by top-line country music entertainers, a Sunday memorial at the Lights On The Hill wall at Gatton’s Lake Apex Park, before a return to the track for more music plus the NRL Grand Final shown live on the huge screen, supplied by Big Screens Australia.
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.
NSW trucking company raided following fatal crash
Eight major defects found and several trucks seized for further investigation
New South Wales police issued eight defect notices to AK Group Trucking during a raid on Monday following last week’s fatal crash that killed two in Sydney’s west.
Following investigation at the crash site, Traffic and Highway Command officers issued a search warrant for the company’s Kemps Creek depot where they examined the company’s 14 trucks.
Two trucks were found to have major mechanical and brake issues, fuel leaks, and multiple minor defects.
Some of the trucks were seized and taken to the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS’s) Wetherill Park facility for further examination.
The officers also examined driver log books to check the company’s fatigue management practices.
"What we've seen this morning is very poor evidence of fatigue management," Superintendent Stuart Smith says.
"Those documents that we've seized this morning will form part of a chain of responsibility investigation.
"The evidence that we've found certainly suggests that there are some major fatigue breaches in some of the trucks that we've investigated this morning."
Officers are also believed to have found an allegedly stolen car at the premises.
Meanwhile, AK Group director Ammar Kejer has brushed off claims that the company and its drivers did not obey fatigue laws, and that the driver was working within the permitted 12-hour work limit.
Kejer says the company has been unfairly treated, adding that the officers did not in fact find any issues with the fleet.
"They couldn't find any problems, they just make [my job] hard," Kejer says.
"They didn't call me to say they were coming, they just came at 5 o'clock in the morning."
"He was one of the best drivers in Sydney and he was driving the best truck in Sydney," he said.
"They've got all his diary books, they couldn't find [anything] wrong."
Further investigations will be conducted to determine whether the company will be charged over last week’s crash in which drivers Chris Blake and Peter Cardilini were killed.
Blake’s semi-trailer collided with Cardilini’s truck, who was driving for Austral Bricks, before both the vehicles burst into flames.
Brickworks Ltd, Austral's parent company, MD Lindsay Partridge has earlier stated that the truck Cardilini was driving had been inspected by RMS less than 48 hours before the accident.
So far, there is no evidence to prove that Austral or its truck was directly responsible for the accident.
Traffic & Highway Patrol Command's acting assistant commissioner David Driver says operators must be aware of their responsibilities and ensure safety practices are in place at all times.
"Sadly, in light of the tragedy on our road last week, Traffic and Highway Patrol and Roads and Maritime Services Inspectors have had to come together again to ensure those involved are operating their fleets safely on our roads," Driver says.
"With defects, fatigue, and other issues identified, we will work closely with Roads and Maritime Services to ensure operators are complying in the hope that we can prevent future tragic events occurring on NSW roads.
"Operators should be aware of their obligations, it is too late when the police turn up at your depot."
Warwick truckie honoured at Lights On The Hill convoy event
KEEP TRUCKIN: Diann Tysoe, with the banner of her late partner Robert Rogers, and truck driver Robbie Larfield and his wife Rosie.
ROBERT Rogers, a former Warwick truck driver, has been honoured by his mates in a touching tribute.
Six truck drivers from Wickham's Freight Lines drove in convoy to the Light's On The Hill memorial weekend in Gatton, carrying a banner of their late co-worker.
Robert's partner Diann Tysoe said Robert died in April this after many health complications.
"Lights On The Hill is a memorial site near Gatton to commemorate all the truck and bus drivers that have died over the years. Originally it started out for truckies who had died in the act of driving, but it's since been amended to honour all drivers that have passed on," Ms Tysoe said.
"Some of boys from Wickham's approached me and asked if they could put a banner for Robert on the front of the convoy heading up to Lights on the Hill.
"I've know these guys for years so of course I was very touched and agreed.
"Robert had been a truck driver all his life.
"He was only 67 when he died."
Ms Tysoe said the banner went to the event on the front of driver Robbie Larfield's truck.
"I think Lights On The Hill is a great tribute to honour the drivers and the work they do," she said.
"Without trucks, Australia doesn't turn.
"And the Wickham's group have been so supportive; huge thanks them all.
"They do a wonderful job."
The Lights On The Hill memorial service was attended by more than 700 trucks and featured speeches, commemorations, music and a minute's silence for the truckies who have died over the years.
US firm acquires APC Logistics for $300 million
C.H. Robinson hopeful the deal will help increase its global footprint
C.H. Robinson has finalised the acquisition of Australia-based international air and sea freight forwarder APC Logistics.
The US-based company says the A$300 million acquisition will help increase its global presence and brings additional capabilities and expertise to its portfolio.
"With this acquisition, our customers will have an extraordinary opportunity to benefit from the additional services and scale of C.H. Robinson," APC Logistics CEO Tony Considine says.
"I would like to thank all of our employees for their continued dedication to providing excellent service to our customers."
The company plans to implement it global technology platform, Navisphere, to APC soon.
"We are excited that APC Logistics is now part of C.H. Robinson," C.H. Robinson chairman and CEO John Wiehoff says.
"The marketplace response to this acquisition has been extremely positive since the announcement.
"We welcome APC’s customers and suppliers and our new colleagues to C.H. Robinson."
The transaction was financed by cash and funds drawn from the company’s existing revolving credit facility.
C.H. Robinson is a third-party logistics provider based in Minnesota.
ATA develops brake setup maintenence and maintenence procedure
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has released its new Technical Advisory Procedure on truck brakes.
The ATA's Senior Engineering Adviser, Chris Loose, says effective brake adjustment setup and maintenence is vital for truck safety.
Mr Loose released the ATA's new Technical Advisory Procedure on slack adjuster setup and compliance to the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).
The advisory procedure was developed by the ATA's Industry Technical Council.
"Understanding the correct adjustment for slack adjusters is important to improving brake performance and having safer trucks on our roads," Mr Loose said.
"We've seen longer stroke brake chambers become standard on a range of truck models over recent years, and it's important that truck operators understand what version is fitted on their truck and how it should be set up and maintained.
"Getting the setup right will improve brake performance and improve safety."
The new technical advisory procedure includes advice on chamber stroke and readjustment lengths, identification of stroke on the brake chamber end cap, brake chamber stroke length, and correct mounting of chambers with slack adjusters.
The procedure provides information on a stroke checking tool and examples of templates and guides for correct adjustment.
Mr Loose said the document also provided some supplier links for service, maintenance and correct setup.
"There is a range of suppliers of both manual and automatic slack adjusters, all with unique designs and methods of function," Mr Loose said.
"It is important to buy the right quality of equipment built to the appropriate SAE standards, and to ensure they are regularly serviced and maintained."
This is the latest in the ATA's series of technical advisory procedures, which provide best practice guidance for trucking operators, maintainers and suppliers about key technical issues. The slack adjuster setup procedure is available on the ATA website.