This Website is for Sale
TWU plans cooperative approach to prevent RSRT repeal
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has used recent deaths involving truck crashes to argue it will work with the federal Opposition and minor parties to prevent any government attempt to axe the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
Motorway covered in honey after vehicle overturns in state of Georgia
A lorry containing millions of bees overturned in Georgia over the weekend, covering the motorway in honey and releasing millions of the insects.
The lorry was travelling on Interstate 75 near Macon when a tyre blew out. Its cargo was made up of large boxes of bee hives and honeycombs, which were hurled from the vehicle and lay broken in the road.
Beekeepers were dispatched to aid in the cleanup, which lasted several hours. Monroe County Emergency Agency Director Matthew Perry was also on hand.
“That’s the most bees I’ve ever seen,” Mr Perry told The Macon Telegraph. “That was a sticky mess.” He estimated that the total number of bees was in the millions.
Emergency workers sprayed hoses to disperse the bees, and transported the honey-coated wreckage to the side of the road. Beekeepers then carefully removed the honeycombs from the broken hives to preserve the bees’ homes.
Accidents such as this one are not unprecedented in the US. The largest recent occurrence was in Utah in 2011, when a lorry crashed and released a swarm of 25 million bees.
Witnesses of that chaotic event said that the cloud of bees was so thick they could not see anything else. Two people were hospitalised with multiple stings.
The US Department of Agriculture put out a statement after the 2011 incident explaining the prevalence of incidents such as these:
"The number of managed honey bee colonies has dropped from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today. At the same time, the call for hives to supply pollination service has continued to climb. This means honey bee colonies are trucked farther and more often than ever before.”
No injuries resulted from Sunday’s crash.
Man killed in workplace accident
A man has been killed in a workplace accident at a manufacturing business in Launceston.
The man was using a forklift to unload goods from a truck at Roadside Products in St Leonards on Thursday afternoon.
The forklift flipped onto its side, and pinned the man underneath it, just metres from the road.
He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Workplace standards is investigating and a report is being prepared for the coroner.
New look safety truck unveiled
The Australian Trucking Association’s new look Safety Truck has been unveiled, making its first public appearance at the Newcastle Road Transport Awareness Day.
The truck is an upgrade of the ATA’s Road Ahead safety exhibition, which has delivered the industry’s safety messages to more than 70,000 people since its launch in 2008.
The ATA’s corporate relations manager Steve Power said the upgrade included new artwork, new displays – and a pedal car track.
“Kids really get into the pedal car track. It’s a fun way to teach basic road safety lessons like stopping at stop signs and following one-way arrows,” Mr Power said.
“As you’d expect, many of the ATA’s senior staff are former truck mechanics or drivers, and they were all down on the floor helping to put the first pedal car together.”
Inside the exhibit, visitors can try their hand at customised road safety apps and earn a ‘Safety Truck licence’ by completing every level.
The Safety Truck also features animated videos that illustrate the ATA’s top tips for sharing the road safely with trucks, including the dangers of cutting in front of heavy vehicles, where the blind spots are on a truck and why heavy vehicles need plenty of space when turning.
Newcastle Road Transport Awareness Day chairman Tony McGrath said the Safety Truck was a great success.
“It was very popular, and the kids absolutely loved it. All the people who came up to me during the day said it was fantastic,” Mr McGrath said.
The ATA donated all funds raised on the day to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The chief executive of the ATA Stuart St Clair said the updated exhibition would give the trucking industry more opportunities to interact with local communities across Australia.
“With the Safety Truck, we can help teach younger drivers how to stay safe when sharing the road with heavy vehicles. We’ve also got plenty of activities for children – it’s never too early to start learning about road safety,” Mr St Clair said.
“The truck will have a heavy schedule in 2014. It will be at the 2014 International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in April and the Bathurst 1000 in October. During the rest of the year, it will support local government road safety education programs and community events like the Newcastle Road Transport Awareness Day.”
Speeding truckie puts his company in the spotlight
A B-double driver clocked travelling at 120km/h on the Hume Highway in New South Wales has put his employer in the sights of authorities.
New Generation Mitsubishi Pedestrian Stacker Truck
New Generation Mitsubishi Pedestrian Stacker Truck, setting new standards in Materials Handling.
Compact, easy to use and highly versatile, the new Mitsubishi AXIA ES Pedestrian Stacker has been developed to deliver exceptional productivity in every setting.
These completely newly designed Mitsubishi Pedestrian Stackers come with an ergonomic tiller arm and extremely compact powerhead and outstanding visibility. The AXIA ES ensures excellent manoeuvrability in tight spaces.
The new Mitsubishi Pedestrian Stacker series include advanced and added value features that deliver real customer benefits, particularly in terms of reliability and value for money. These features include:
These newly designed, state of the art trucks are available in 1,600Kg capacity.
For more information on the brand new Mitsubishi AXIA ES Pedestrian Stacker, please contact:
MLA Holdings on:
Underpaid SA truckie receives $15k
The case of an underpaid truck driver in South Australia has put emphasis on the need for businesses to keep accurate time and wage records.
Hold management accountable for truck maintenance: ATA
Businesses and their senior managers should be made accountable for truck maintenance by extending the chain of responsibility laws, according to Australian Trucking Association chairman David Simon.
Mr Simon was opening the trucking industry’s technical and maintenance event for 2013, the PACCAR and Dealer TMC at the Automotive Centre of Excellence in Melbourne.
“You are the elite of the truck maintenance industry. You work to the highest standards and you stay up to date, including by coming to TMC,” Mr Simon told delegates.
“Unfortunately, it’s clear from recent events, including the results of Operations Steel and Austrans, that some businesses in our industry do not share your commitment to maintenance and safety.
“In tough times, it is easy for executives who are not on the tools to tweak a few numbers in a spreadsheet and cut back on maintenance in the belief it won’t matter,” he said.
In his speech, Mr Simon announced a five-point plan for improving truck maintenance, safety and the way Australia investigates road accidents.
“The chain of responsibility laws currently apply to speed management, fatigue, vehicle mass, vehicle dimensions and load restraint,” Mr Simon said.
Under CoR, trucking company managers, schedulers, loaders and even consignors have an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent offences on the road.
“My personal view is that we should extend CoR to vehicle maintenance. This would compel businesses and their senior managers to take reasonable steps to make sure you can do your jobs properly, for example, by ensuring you have adequate budgets, resources and training.
“The ATA has long had concerns about the rigour of the government’s National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme compared to TruckSafe, although of course no accreditation scheme can prevent every accident.
“The NSW Government has proposed a review of NHVAS. The review needs to go ahead; NHVAS needs to be fixed.
“Thirdly, governments need to examine mandating electronic stability control for at least some dangerous goods vehicles. A NSW coroner made a recommendation along these lines in a report in 2011. She was investigating a tanker rollover that occurred near BatemansBay in 2009.
“Four years have passed since the accident and nothing of substance has been done.
“In my view, it would not be necessary to impose this requirement on all vehicles carrying dangerous goods. It should not, for example, apply to trucks carrying domestic cleaning products in retail packaging as part of a larger load.
“We should, however, urgently look at applying it to trucks carrying bulk loads of flammable or combustible liquids, explosives and radioactive substances,” he said.
Mr Simon summed up his final two points as “we need to learn some lessons from air transport.”
“Many people are afraid of flying, but the most dangerous part of a plane trip is the journey to the airport by road,” he said.
“One of the reasons air travel is so safe is its accident investigation system. In Australia, the job is done by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which also looks at marine and rail accidents.
“The ATSB looks beyond the immediate causes of accidents to the organisational and management issues that allow them to happen.
“When it does issue recommendations, it pushes them until it gets an adequate response. Its recommendations and the responses are all public and easy to find.
“As a result, businesses and government agencies have a very strong incentive to take its recommendations seriously.
“I believe we need to move to a similar system. As the first step, governments need to establish a national database of coronial recommendations about road safety, together with the responses and updates about the recommendations that have not been followed up.
“The database would need to be accessible to everyone: safety investigators, the industry, the media and the public.
“This new system would not require governments and the industry to follow every coroner’s recommendation. But it would make sure these recommendations were considered seriously.
“In the longer term, governments, the industry, the NHVR and the ATSB need to look at establishing a national ‘no blame’ accident investigation capacity for fatal truck crashes similar to the approach used to investigate aviation, marine and rail accidents.
“It’s a big step, but we would learn more from each fatal truck crash than we do now. And there would be more action to stop future accidents from happening,” he said.
'Groundbreaking' initiative aims to improve driver health at Ryans Transport
Meet The Guy Who Drove Across The U.S. In A Record 28 Hours 50 Minutes
He's a tall, lanky Southerner with a penchant for cars, and, of all things, lizards. He teaches Sunday school with his wife. Ed Bolian is the kind of guy you might meet on an airplane and forget before you picked up your bags – with one exception: he claims he's the fastest man ever to drive across the United States.
That's right: Alex Roy's familiar cross-country driving record, set in his now-famous LeMans Blue 2000 BMW M5 during the fall of 2006, no longer stands. It was allegedly broken by a three-man team consisting of Ed, a co-driver, and a passenger, in a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG.
But we'll get to all that.
First, we should address the term "broken." When I think of a record that's been "broken," I imagine beating something by a second, or a minute, or maybe a few RBIs. If what Ed says is true, the record wasn't broken: it was shattered. In 2006, Alex and company completed the transcontinental journey in 31 hours and 4 minutes. Two weeks ago, Ed and his crew say they managed to do the deed in 28 hours and 50 minutes. Google says it takes 40 and a half.
Another driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, attempted the same journey a week prior and could only muster a time of 31 hours and 17 minutes. When he finished the run, he sent a text message to Alex Roy. It said only: "Long live the King."
So who is this new guy claiming the throne?
I first met Ed a few years ago in his official capacity as the sales director for Lamborghini of Atlanta. Over time, he's helped me look for various wacky used cars – and even though I never bought one from him, he's always addressed me with the same friendly, upbeat, and cheerful attitude as he did the first time we met. That was exactly his demeanor when we sat down earlier this week to discuss his record-setting run – only this time, he may have been a little more cheerful.1
"I suppose congratulations are in order," I said.
"Thank you very much," Ed replied.
Before we get into Ed's run, let's take a brief run through some transcontinental record history and the interesting characters who attempt to race the sun from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
All of this started in 1933 when a crazy man from Indiana named Edwin "Cannonball" Baker drove from New York to Los Angeles in 53 hours and 30 minutes in some car called the Blue Streak. No one knows Baker's motivation for the run, but his 50 mph average was highly impressive, considering the interstate system was not yet built. The record went unbeaten for 40 years.2
In the 1970s, noted auto racer and Car and Driver contributor Brock Yates conceived the "Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash" – also called the Cannonball Run – to protest highway speed limits. I won't bore you with the details, but the record was slowly whittled down over the next decade until Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough teamed up in 1979 to make the trek in 32 hours and 51 minutes behind the wheel of a Jaguar XJS.3
Though Cannonball disbanded after that, a similar event, dubbed the US Express, quickly took its place. In the final US Express, Doug Turner and David Diem drove a Ferrari 308 across the country in 32 hours and 7 minutes. That record, set in 1983, went unbroken for more than 20 years – until Alex Roy's crossing in 2006. And now…4
"I've wanted to break the record since I was 18 years old," said Ed, now 27, casually sipping coffee. He doesn't sound like someone with a razor-sharp focus on breaking one of the most difficult – and bizarre – automotive records in existence. But he is.
Preparations started several years ago. At first, it was just the general questions. What car to buy. What route to take. What supplies to bring.
But last year, he finally got serious. The car came first.
"I thought about a Ferrari 612," said Ed. "But gas mileage would've been bad. A Bentley would've been perfect, but you'd want the V8 for gas mileage, and those are still way too expensive."
Why not an E63? Or my CTS-V Wagon, which has "understated lawbreaking" written all over it?
"You need active suspension," said Ed. "You know… for the fuel tanks."
That's right: the fuel tanks. You see, look at it from the outside and you wouldn't know Ed's CL55 is anything other than a typical CL-Class, purchased by some old guy in Palm Beach because, let's face it, the S-Class just has too many doors. But poke around under the skin, and Ed's CL is far from typical.
Let's start with the fuel tanks. There are two of them, both 22 gallons – and that's in addition to the 23-gallon tank Mercedes installed at the factory. The result is a constant, pervasive gas smell when you're standing anywhere in the car's vicinity. But it also means the car can hold 67 gallons of fuel – or, put another way, over 400 pounds of gasoline. Hence the active suspension.
But it's so much more than fuel tanks. There's a police scanner. There are two Garmin GPS units with traffic capabilities. There are two iPhone chargers and cradles to run apps like Trapster; an iPad charger and cradle; and three radar detectors. And that's just the easy stuff. There's a switch to kill the rear lights, a switch to activate the fuel tanks, and a professionally installed switch panel mounted in the center stack that controls all of these goodies. There's a CB radio, complete with a giant trunk-mounted antenna. There are two laser jammers. Ed had someone working on a radar jammer, but it wasn't ready in time.
"How much do you think you've spent on all this?" I ask.
"I don't even want to calculate it," says Ed.
Rising star recognised at awards night
VOLVO Group Australia rising star, Shannon Ross, has been recognised as one of Australia's best automotive professionals by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia (CILTA).
Mr Ross was up against six other finalists for CILTA's 'Transport and Logistics Industry Young Professional Award'. Shannon received a "Highly Commended Award" which was presented to him at the awards ceremony in Rosehill on Saturday, October 26.
The 'Transport and Logistics Industry Young Professional Award' recognises professionals under the age of 35 who have made a significant contribution to the Australian transport and logistics industry.
Mr Ross, a service supervisor for Volvo, Mack and UD trucks in Wacol, is thrilled to have been named as a finalist for the prestigious industry award.
"It's a very exciting opportunity for me both personally and professionally. I was incredibly humbled to have been nominated in the first place - being a finalist has exceeded my expectations," he said.
"My whole team has been very supportive and is proud of me for reaching the final stage of the competition."
Mr Ross began his career as an apprentice for the trucking company in 2007, and quickly progressed through the ranks to become a supervisor within the first 12 months of completing his apprenticeship.
The 27-year-old now manages a team of 12 as a service supervisor, which is one of his proudest achievements.
Mr Ross plays a key role in ensuring the safety of truck drivers and motorists on all Australian roads is upheld by performing maintenance and repair services to heavy duty Mack, Volvo and UD trucks.
Vice President - Mack Trucks, Dean Bestwick, said Mr Ross's nomination was a huge feat for the young gun.
"Mr Ross is recognised among his peers and managers as an incredibly hard-working team member who is always up for a challenge," he said.
"His mechanical skills are exemplary, which is a direct result of his determination to succeed and willingness to volunteer for new projects.
"Mr Ross has excelled throughout every aspect of his career. He is an asset to the company and we are delighted he has been recognised in this prestigious forum with a highly commended award"
The Transport Workers Union protests over conditions for truck drivers at the Wesfarmers AGM
Photo: Members of the Transport Workers Union protesting over conditions for Coles supermarket delivery drivers outside the Wesfarmers AGM. (Samia O'Keefe)
The Transport Workers Union rallied outside the Wesfarmers AGM in Perth earlier today, to protest over the conditions placed on truck drivers.
The union says industry surveys have found 46 per cent of drivers servicing the Wesfarmers-owned Coles supply chain are skipping breaks to make deliveries on time.
It also found 28 per cent of drivers felt pressure to speed, and 26 per cent felt pressure to carry overweight loads.
Labor Senator and former truck driver Glenn Sterle is calling on Wesfarmers to make changes.
"Wesfarmers, if you're going to turn a good profit, you are a responsible corporate citizen," he said.
"You employ 800 truck drivers.
"If you want to drive prices down and down, however you want to put it, by all means. But do not do it at the expense of Australia's truck drivers."
The union's Tony Sheldon says Coles earnings last year were $1.53 billion.
"But we're seeing continued pressure to cut corners and cut costs in transport. And that risks lives."
Coles Managing Director Ian McLeod rejects the claim Coles is risking lives.
Mr McLeod says the company outsources its trucking operations to reputable transport companies and is satisfied with the safety commitments they have in place.
"They've got great safety records themselves and act extremely responsibly," he said.
"We've been dealing with those individual companies for years. And I'm absolutely confident that they've got the same vested interests in maintaining safety as well as possible as we would have ourselves.
"And actually we talk to them about that on a regular basis."
Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder says the transport union is using the public face of Coles to voice its concerns over safety issues in the industry.
Mr Goyder says Coles outsources all transport operations to contractors such as Linfox and Toll.
"The question you've got to ask is are they working for Coles or are they working for other people and again, are we because we're a public face, we're the ones being targetted," he said.
"And I think you'll find the incidents being talked about are not Coles related."
Lack of investment takes toll on SA roads
South Australian motoring group RAA wants to see a greater share of the fuel tax poured back into road infrastructure that is under constant pressure from grain trucks.
Fire bans blanket NSW
TOTAL fire bans have been declared across much of NSW, including the greater Sydney region, where the fire danger is severe.
The fire bans have been in place since midnight (AEDT) for the far north coast, north coast, greater Hunter, greater Sydney region, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, central ranges, New England, northern slopes, northwestern and upper central west plains districts.
Severe fire weather would affect towns including Newcastle, Narrabri, Lismore and Coffs Harbour, the Rural Fire Service said yesterday.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a front would move through eastern NSW today, increasing westerly winds ahead of a strong southerly change moving up the coast.
Temperatures would drop but humidity would remain low into the evening, the bureau said.
Privacy laws putting lives at risk: Road transport group
FIRST ON 7: There are claims strict privacy laws banning police from dobbing in truck drivers caught doing the wrong thing could be putting lives at risk.
Truck blitzes where drivers are tested for drugs and alcohol while their vehicles are put under the microscope have become commonplace in South Australia, but when police issue a defect notice or expiation, the driver’s boss is often none the wiser.
Strict privacy laws ban them from passing the information onto employers, but the Road Transport Association said officers should be allowed to dob in rogue drivers.
“Police can’t tell us because they’ll be prosecuted if they do,” Steve Shearer from the RTA said.
“So if that truck driver is irresponsible enough to sue drugs and not tell the employer, I’ll keep putting that driver out on the road.”
Many companies only find out when a truck is impounded or the driver loses their licence.
The group said it could be putting the lives of other road users at risk.
South Australia Police agree changes to the law would help companies better monitor their drivers, but it is not convinced any of the proposals put forward so far are practical or foolproof.
“Our problem is simply to find a practical way of helping Mr Shearer and the industry which is not burdensome on SAPOL,” Attorney-General John Rau said.
One proposal includes allowing police to record offences in the truck driver’s log books, which are checked by employers.
But Mr Shearer has warned they can be easily doctored.
“They’re uncomfortable with touching the privacy principle for fear of criticism, well we’re not interested in that, we’re interested in saving lives,” Mr Shearer said.