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Parking bay must be fixed
DESTROYED: What was left of the truck cabin after the crash. Photo: Courtesy of NBN News
SURVIVING a crash that nearly claimed his life, truck driver Lance Scott is still recovering two months later.
It was a normal run into Urunga in NSW on October 22 when his B-double crashed into a parked truck near the BP service station.
Mr Scott, also known as the "Mad Kiwi" was travelling southbound about 1am with 62 tonnes of sugar.
He was travelling behind another B-double at the time and a semi parked just inside the fog line took the full force of the crash.
Emergency workers and police were amazed Mr Scott was able to walk away from the wreckage, which saw the cab of the truck completely ripped apart.
Now Mr Scott is slowly going back to work, after his face and arm were battered and bruised.
He was left with minor injuries, which included a massive haematoma to the left side of his face and lacerations to his body.
Already he has had several surgeries on the haematoma, but it will need many more.
He's since been back to the crash site.
"It was a bit of a mess, it's got me buggered how anyone can park there. It's a joke, it's not designed for that. I don't blame anyone, it's the first one (crash) after 20 years of driving B-doubles and triples, I'm glad everyone walked away," he said.
Mr Scott said he was surprised the seat stayed bolted to the floor, as the rest of the cab tore away on impact.
"I was still on top of the motor when I came to," he said.
"I don't remember anything. I came to and heard them saying I was dead.
"It was my partner's birthday that day. My speech wasn't great but I was able to say I was still alive."
Mr Scott said there was no speeding, drugs, alcohol, fatigue, log book infringement or phone involved in the crash.
"I've been racing cars for 27 years and driving B-doubles and road trains for 20 years. I've been to crash sites before and used quick thinking to get myself out."
He has seen footage of the crash taken from CCTV at the nearby service station.
The driver of the semi, in the truck at the time, luckily also walked away from the crash.
Scott said the worst part was being too afraid to drive for a month after the crash.
"I've been saying it for years, 'Someone is going to get whacked one day'.
"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy what I went through. Unfortunately it's part of the industry.
He is calling for more rest stops, every 50km, with more space so that there is room for trucks to pull in.
"The servos are always full of locals or trailers.
"I have been a lucky man to walk away from this with minor injuries.
"I have walked away from this with my life and this is due to all the people involved, but this is also a chance to look at this parking bay as it's neither big enough nor safe enough for everyone."
"If there is a few parked up there most people will park in front, on the fog line and like me when you have a few trucks in front, the person behind won't see you until its too late.
"I'm lucky to escape this with my life but the next person might not be so lucky.
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who stopped and helped and a special thanks to all emergency services that attended and a big thank you to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital for your help and support.
"And thank you to everyone on Facebook for your comments, I'm humbled by the response given.
"I'm at home recovering and trying to get myself back on track. It's now just a time thing and letting the body recover at its own pace, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the seat once more and thanking everyone in person. I look forward to meeting you all back on the road."
Originally from New Zealand, Mr Scott has spent the past 18 years in Australia and now lives in Queensland.
He has seen most of the country, working with three companies since coming to Australia and says he has helped when needed, other drivers or at crash sites giving CPR
Drink-drive truck driver held in NSW
A truck driver will face court in NSW after testing positive to alcohol on the Princes Highway
A truck driver will face court after testing positive to alcohol on the Princes Highway in New South Wales yesterday.
The 43-year-old was driving a prime mover loaded with logs at East Lynne when he was stopped by police at 7.30am.
Police found the timber logs not restrained properly.
The man was arrested and had his driver’s licence suspended after testing positive to a roadside breath test.
He was taken to Bateman’s Bay police station where a breath analysis returned an alleged reading of 0.119.
He will face court next month.
Double demerit points will be in place from today to January 1 for speeding and seatbelt offences during the annual traffic enforcement campaign in NSW, Operation Safe Arrival.
Truckies honour lost mates
TRUCK driving can be a lonely and potentially dangerous job, with truckies often leaving home for days at a time with no guarantee of returning.
When a truckie fails to make it home, their loss is felt strongly throughout the transport community and leaves a gaping hole for their family.
Truckies and their families now have a special spot to gather and remember lost mates and loved ones: the Murray Bridge memorial. It is the brainchild of Tailem Bend driver Keith Wood, who worked tirelessly lobbying the council, designing, fundraising and eventually building the first stage of the structure.
"Keith has done everything from the ground up, starting with the excavations and then the actual stonework," his wife Cathie said. "He even designed it himself."
The journey from idea to completion has been a long one, with a loyal group of volunteers helping to make the memorial a reality.
"I first spoke to (local state MP) Adrian Pederick three years ago and it's been about 12 months since we started on the design," Keith said.
After the original plan to build a memorial at the White Hill truck stop on the South Eastern Freeway was rejected by road safety organisations, the new location on Adelaide Road at Murray Bridge was selected for its history as a transport corridor, scenic setting and B-double access.
The memorial was opened with a moving memorial service at the site, followed by a family fun weekend at the Murray Bridge racecourse on November 23-24.
Convoys of trucks made the journey to Murray Bridge from Keith and Wingfield, many of the 32 rigs carrying tribute banners to their former mates.
The service included a stirring performance of A truckie's last letter, a song written by Golden Guitar award winner Graham Rogers and singer Dale Duncan, with all sale proceeds going to drivers' health organisation - Trans-Help Foundation.
"It was a very moving service, there were plenty of tears," Cathie said.
After the service, the mood was lightened as visitors flocked to the family event at the racecourse.
"We wanted to make sure the weekend had a real family focus, so we had three-legged and sack races for the kids, vintage cars and trucks, steam engines and face painting," Keith said.
"We also held a ute muster on the Saturday and got about 65 utes involved."
Keith has been in the transport industry for 25 years, and has lost mates along the way.
"The transport industry is like one great big family - when you lose someone everyone feels it," he said.
"I've got about eight mates who are listed on the Tarcutta, NSW, truck drivers' memorial, but that's about 1000 kilometres away. I thought we needed somewhere closer where we can remember the local guys who are no longer around."
Other memorials have been built at Tamworth in NSW and Gatton, Qld.
The White Hill memorial consists of two stone walls - the first for truckies killed on the road and the other for industry stalwarts who pass away from natural causes.
"Everything here is donated - from the pavers to the metal signage," Keith said. "The support from the industry and local businesses has been fantastic."
The second stage of the project will involve extensive landscaping, laying bitumen around a nearby rose garden, and installing a signpost pointing to other truckie memorials across Australia.
Next year's memorial service and fun day will be held on November 29.
"Over the next couple of years as more people hear about it and want to attend, we're hoping to have 6000 to 8000 people coming to the racecourse and memorial service," Keith said.
Australian trucking needs overseas drivers: ATA
Australian Trucking Association wants to bring in drivers from overseas to plug a severe skill shortage
Skilled migrants should be able to apply for truck driving jobs in Australia to meet a severe labour shortage, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.
The lobby group has written to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency requesting heavy vehicle driving be added to the Skilled Occupation List.
The move would allow overseas drivers to apply for 457 visas to operate trucks in Australia.
The ATA says the industry is under pressure from severe driver shortages due to a combination of factors including competition for labour from the mining sector, an ageing workforce and a lack of interest among young people in a career in trucking.
“While the industry has and continues to make attracting and training young drivers a priority, this is just not meeting the driver shortages already being felt in some areas,” ATA National Policy Manager David Coonan says.
In its submission to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, the ATA says almost half of the current workforce in the trucking industry will be over the age of 65 by 2026.
It lists a number of reasons for driver shortages, such as the industry’s poor image, restrictive licensing regulations, high insurance premiums for young drivers and limited training opportunities.
“The industry has recognised that significant action is needed in order to keep Australia moving, since current recruitment policies are not meeting the driver shortage,” the submission states.
“Some estimates have indicated that the rate of recruitment will need to increase by 150 per cent in order to support the increased demand for road freight services and a simultaneous loss of retiring drivers.”
Truck and dogs dominate NTI's concerns
Despite the Cootes disaster and its aftermath, the nation’s largest truck insurer says tankers don’t “jump off the page” in its claims book.
First ‘Safe Rates’ order issued
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has made its first road safety remuneration order (RSRO). The agency says the RSRO comes after extensive consultation with interested stakeholders in the road transport industry over the past 12 months.
The tribunal’s first RSRO takes effect from 1 May 2014. The RSRO applies to a road transport driver employed or engaged in:
The road transport and distribution industry within the meaning of the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 as in force on 1 July 2012, in respect of the provision by the road transport driver of a road transport service wholly or substantially in relation to goods, wares, merchandise, material or anything whatsoever destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain, or long-distance operations in the private transport industry within the meaning of the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010 as in force on 1 July 2012.
It sets out minimum entitlements and requirements for these road transport drivers, their employers or hirers, as well as to participants in the supply chain.
The RSRO sets out requirements regarding:
Payment time within 30 days of a received invoice for contractor drivers. Written contracts for road transport drivers, which may be in an electronic format. Contracts between supply chain participants. Safe driving plans for drivers undertaking long distance operations in a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes. Training in work health and safety. Drug and alcohol policies. Dispute resolution and adverse conduct protection.
The RSRO is based on a draft RSRO published by the tribunal on 12 July 2013. Subsequent hearings, submissions and comments made by the industry and other stakeholders also formed part of the tribunal’s decision making process.
In its decision, the Full Bench stated that “the making of a RSRO in at least some form was widely supported” by a broad cross-section of the road transport industry.
The Full Bench also stated that “the issue of rates of payment for road transport drivers is to be the subject of future proceedings of the tribunal and so is not dealt with in this decision. Those future proceedings will also consider associated issues, such as methods for dealing with the issue, forms of payment and what constitutes work.”
After the RSRO comes into effect, the tribunal will have the power to approve road transport collective agreements. A road transport collective agreement is an agreement between contractor drivers and the hirer or potential hirer of the drivers.
An agreement can provide specific remuneration and/or related conditions for any drivers and hirers covered by the agreement.
The RSRO and accompanying decision and decision summary are available on the Tribunal’s website www.rsrt.gov.au, along with a guide to road safety remuneration orders.
Town wants brake on trucks
Hundreds of freight trucks drive through the small Wheatbelt town of Miling every day.
Some of them speed.
Many of them fail to slow down for the 40km/h zone around the primary school at the edge of town.
Now, locals want something done about it.
"It's dangerous," one resident said. "We don't want to wait until someone dies before something is done. This is a small country town, not a pitstop."
Another local said: "I remember seeing a large piece of steel fly off a truck and on to the footpath as it raced through town.
"Luckily, no one was standing on that part of the path."
A third resident said: "I've seen a large freight train overtake another at speed, literally metres from the school playground. There was no margin for error."
The town, 200km north of Perth, has a population of about 200 but most residents live on surrounding wheat and sheep farms.
It is on Great Northern Highway - a key freight link between Perth and WA's mining industry - and, as a result, has above- average volume of road-freight traffic.
Residents have been concerned about the speed of trucks through the town for many months and a recent public meeting was called that was attended by transport parliamentary secretary Jim Chown and a representative of Main Roads.
As a result, double white lines were painted on the highway to prevent trucks from overtaking in the town and there has been the promise of electronic LED 40km/h road signs for the start of the school year next year.
P&C president and local farmer Paul White said he hoped these steps would have a positive impact.
"I don't think there is one solution," he said. "We need to do lots of things to make the stretch of highway through our town safe.
"Perhaps bigger and better signage. And maybe the road could be resealed.
"I think most truck drivers do the right thing. It's just the handful who don't we have to worry about. Our school is one of only a few in the State that is so close to a busy highway.
"So, we obviously need the trucks to slow down to 40km/h in the mornings and afternoons. But it is also important that they slow down during the rest of the day."
Shopkeeper Carlo Galati said a permanent speed camera in the town might be the answer.
"If speeding drivers know they're going to get caught, they will slow down," he said. "And if that doesn't work, we should put in some speed humps at either end of the town."
Publican Gordon Burns said he had seen several near misses outside his hotel, particularly involving overtaking trucks.
"There are many overtaking places along this stretch of highway and drivers were using our town to do so," he said.
"That's why the double white lines are so important."
Mr Burns said the closest police were in Moora (45km away) and Dalwallinu (55km away).
"We do see them here and they have nabbed speeding drivers," he said. "But I think the truck drivers get on their CBs and alert each other."
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the State Government would continue to look at options to improve safety on the stretch of road and electronic school lights would be installed at the primary school.
Man killed after truck smashes into shop
A man has died and a woman has suffered severe injuries after the truck they were in crashed into a shop in the state's southeast.
The Country Fire Service (CFS) said the B-Double truck lost control and ploughed into the lawnmower service shop at Bordertown about 3am (CDT) on Thursday.
The CFS said the truck driver died at the scene while a woman in the vehicle's cabin was pulled from the wreckage by emergency workers and taken to hospital.
An SA Ambulance spokeswoman told AAP the injured passenger had been flown to Adelaide with severe abdominal injuries and lacerations, and her condition was unknown.
The spokeswoman said a woman inside the shop at the time had also suffered internal injuries and was taken to hospital.
A man inside the shop when the crash occurred was not hurt, the spokeswoman said.
Why This Truck Stop Loo Is the Best in Canada
VALLEYVIEW, AB—What can truckers expect from the restroom at the Valleyview Shell Super Station – a massive truck stop in a tiny town about 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton?
Solid alder wood stall doors. Tiled walls with stone accents, granite countertops with automatic stainless steel fixtures and of course, no bathroom would be complete without sparkling Victorian-style semi-flush mount chandeliers.
“It definitely has that wow factor,” says Store Supervisor Silvia Barks. “At many stations it’s not five stars everywhere, but people come here just to check out the washrooms.”
“Customers appreciate that they can count on us for a clean place to stop and use the washroom,” says Store Manager Blake Sparks.
The truck stop beat many of Canada’s prestigious restaurants for the prize and title of having Canada’s best restroom in 2013.
“People comment to our staff all the time about our elegant décor in the washroom and the importance we place on the maintenance of our facility,” Sparks says.
The contest is sponsored by Cintas, which provides businesses with specialized services such as uniforms, first aid kits and – you guessed it, restroom supplies.
A close-up of the chandelier in the restroom at Valleyview Shell Super Station.
“Valleyview Shell Super Station embodies the critical message that restroom hygiene matters for good health and good business,” says Cintas’ Senior Marketing Manager Leslie Molin. “We are proud to see that the Valleyview team goes the extra mile to keep its facility well maintained.”
It’s not the first prize the truck stop got for its bathrooms either. In 2010, they were named the Best Green Store by Convenience Store Magazine for their geo-thermal heating and cooling technologies.
The 8,350 square foot convenience store serves 2,000-2,500 customers per day with travelers stopping in for fuel, food and the flawless facility. Employees check the washroom every 20-30 minutes depending on the amount of traffic in the store.
Most of the traffic is truck traffic, Barks says, because they’re on the major highway up north (Highway 43 in Alberta), but word of mouth travels fast and people sure do talk about the bathroom.
Solid wood stall doors.
“It’s weird, but people say ‘You have to see the Shell bathroom” and it spreads by word of mouth and people come because other people recommend it. They come here just to check it out, not for gas but just to check out the washrooms,” Barks says.
Finalists were selected based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. Thousands of votes were cast online.
Source: Today's Trucking
Linfox wins Defence warehousing and distribution contract
Linfox has been awarded the Australian Defence Force’s warehousing and distribution contract.
Linfox will manage over 20 sites around Australia providing warehouse and distribution services of all defence inventory handled through the joint logistics units, with the exception of explosive ordnance. StarTrack will supply transport services to Linfox for the contract.
Linfox CEO Michael Byrne said: “We are excited to work with the ADF and bring 600 new people to the Linfox team. We’ll be looking for experienced people for this new work.”
No further details were available at the time of going to press.
The Salvation Army’s Geoff Freind with Toll truck driver Ian Andrews. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au Buy this photo
TRANSPORT company Toll is working with the Salvation Army in Morley to ensure a hospital in Zambia receives thousands of dollars worth of goods from WA business people.
In 2011, Major Geoff Freind donated $60,000, raised from two books he wrote, to the Chikankata Mission, which comprises a hospital and school.
Emergency on the road? A mobile call can’t be traced
WHERE ARE YOU? Calling for an ambulance while on the road means you need to know your exact location as location information is not passed to triple-0. Hayden Johnson
FOR truck drivers, being able to accurately tell a triple-0 operator your exact location could be the difference between life and death.
Recent posts on Facebook from a truck driver that needed an ambulance in Victoria has highlighted the need for drivers to be more aware of where they are.
Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority CEO Ken Shymanski has told Big Rigs that Australian triple-0 services do not receive location information if calls come through on a mobile.
"The technology exists and has been used in America and Europe for many years, but it has not been implemented by Australia's mobile carriers," he said.
Mr Shymanski said it was a serious issue, "especially for people who spend so much of their lives on the roads, and for who the ability to get help quickly is an important concern".
"Our organisation, which is the triple-0 responding agency for police, fire and ambulance in Victoria, has been calling on government to regulate the phone companies to provide 'Mobile Origin Location Information' as a basic safety feature for people who need help.
"In the end, triple-0 can't send help if we don't know where the emergency is. Getting location information is the first most important piece of information the call-taker needs.
"Certainly we have sophisticated mapping technology and tools to help find a location, but if a caller cannot assist with information on where they are it can result in major delays to finding them and getting assistance.
"Until Australia has the technology to automatically locate a mobile caller, the best protection people out on the roads can take is to learn how to use a smart phone or GPS to identify their latitude/longitude."
Most iPhones and other smart devices have the capability of providing a lat/long position and with this information a triple-0 call-taker will be able to locate you quickly and easily.
The Emergency Services and Telecommunications Authority recognises this as an increasingly serious Australia-wide problem as mobile phone use increases.
Handling about 6500 calls a day, more than 50% from mobiles, ESTA said callers could get frustrated that their location information wasn't automatically determined. There are plans for a limited trial of a location-based technology tentatively set for mid-2014.
Major truck safety concerns ahead, says TWU Qld
Unmaintained truck and fatigue numbers are set to increase on Queensland roads due to moves to set up a privatised self-regulated system
The Transport Workers Union Queensland branch says, despite the maintenance wake-up call the Cootes Transport truck disaster had on the industry, the Queensland Government has now pulled Transport Inspector funding from the Department of Transport and Main Roads with a plan to move the State to a privatised self-regulated system.
The TWU is concerned the self-regulated system will result in dodgy companies out to make a quick dollar will scratch the back of those companies and help delay vehicle maintenance while pushing fatigued drivers to go further.
“Effectively, the decision by Deputy Prime Minister to palm off reasonability onto the State Government, who is now privatising the system, will result in more unmaintained and defected trucks, overweight loads and fatigued drivers on our roads, not the other way round,” Queensland TWU State Secretary Peter Biagini says.
“This will affect the safety of our drivers.”
“If our 20 years of surveying truck drivers in the lead up to the introduction of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal tells us anything, it’s that companies already delay truck maintenance and push drivers to break fatigue laws to keep the wheels turning and the money rolling in.”
“Both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Queensland Government’s decision to palm off responsibility and pull funding is dangerous and will take our road safety backwards,” Biagini says.
“Sadly, 330 people die in truck related crashes each year on Australian roads.”
‘Now in Queensland, we will have less vehicle inspectors, inspection sites and weigh bridges, which ultimately means those companies who already undercut the industry will now pressure their drivers and their trucks to push harder and further, because they know they will have a good chance of getting away with it.”
“Only last year was Linfox caught out with a dodgy heavy vehicle trainer who was taking kickbacks for handing out licenses – is this what we can expect, but with maintenance on trucks,” Biagini says.
Toll buys another trucking company
The Toll Group has added to its capabilities in the over-dimensional and heavy haulage sector with the conditional acquisition of the business and assets of Nationwide Transport Solutions (NTS).
NTS has annual revenues of $17 million, is headquartered in Port Kembla, and services the over-dimensional and heavy haulage requirements of major infrastructure projects as well as the energy, alternative energy, and heavy industrial sectors.
The inclusion of NTS’ business and assets into Toll Global Logistics’ Australian operations adds significant operational capacity for future works and will allow Toll to better take part in major infrastructure projects around Australia.
Toll’s contract logistics divisional general manager Bruce Wilson said Toll sees strong growth prospects for the new business.
“We are excited about this opportunity to build on the expertise we have already developed around the wind energy sector,” Mr Wilson said.
“Along with building on our existing activities, NTS provides us with the opportunity to drive strong growth such as in infrastructure projects.”
Toll Group managing director Brian Kruger said, “This acquisition is a great example of Toll’s focus on strengthening and growing our leadership position in core domestic logistics and transportation markets and will provide strong returns on invested capital.
Five trucks grounded as NSW blitz ends
Sydney inspectors say they've caught truckies carrying cars piled three deep, and held on with only basic chains, during a five-day heavy vehicle blitz.
NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) ran Operation Steel 5 from Monday until Friday, inspecting 592 prime movers and 442 trailers.
A total of 681 mechanical faults, including 60 major defects, were detected.
Five vehicles had to be grounded.
NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander John Hartley said some truck drivers were caught using basic chains to tie down multi-tonne loads.
'A number of trucks were identified carrying three or four car bodies on the one flat bed, with only basic chains and restraints preventing them falling off and causing mayhem,' Assistant Commissioner Hartley said in a statement on Friday.
'We continue to be stunned and disappointed by the number of heavy-vehicle drivers who fail to obey even the most basic rules of the road.'
The blitz was launched the day before a deadly multi-vehicle smash in southwest Sydney.
Tuesday's crash, involving a truck and five cars on the Hume Highway near Campbelltown, killed the 57-year-old truck driver.
Fourteen others, including a month-old baby and two toddlers, were admitted to hospital.
Following the smash, Operation Steel 5 inspectors examined 17 prime movers and 11 trailers from the company that owned the truck at the centre of Tuesday's crash.
They allegedly identified 45 faults relating to brakes, suspension, wheels and tyres, chassis, oil and fuel leaks, tow couplings, ancillary equipment and steering.
RMS director of safety and compliance Peter Wells said the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce would now scrutinise warehouses where trucks were being loaded.
'Companies that load, send and receive freight can and will be held equally liable,' he said.
'These companies and their directors need to take their roles seriously and accept responsibility.'