S LOWE 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
Operation AUSTRANS, a major national road safety operation focussing on heavy vehicles which has been an annual event for 25 years, is underway again aiming to ensure truck drivers and trucking companies are safe on the roads.
Superintendent Bob Fauser, officer in charge of South Australia Police’s Traffic Support Branch, says police are just one week in to this year’s Operation and have already inspected 472 heavy vehicles.
“To date, we’ve issued 162 expiation notices, 80 cautions, 145 defects and had three positive methamphetamine tests.”
Speaking from a police truck testing operation at Dry Creek today, Superintendent Fauser says police are urging truck drivers and their companies to do the right thing on the road.
“We urge heavy vehicle drivers and companies to ensure they are complying with the law and their industry regulations, for safety’s sake as well as to avoid significant penalties,” he said.
“National research shows that heavy trucks and buses make up only three per cent of the vehicle fleet, but are involved in 18 per cent of all road fatalities and over 200 deaths each year.
“During the 12 months to the end of June 2013, 231 people died from 192 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks or buses.
“Statistics show fatal crashes involving articulated trucks have decreased by an average of 6.8 per cent in the past three years, but in the same period, fatals involving heavy rigid trucks have increased by 8.1 per cent.
“Heavy vehicle driver fatigue is one of the biggest contributing factors to crashes.
“We know drivers may feel pressure to meet strict deadlines, leading them to sometimes continue driving when they should pull over for a rest.
“This is very dangerous for the driver and all other road users. Police will be watching for fatigue and will take action to prevent heavy vehicle drivers suspected of suffering fatigue from continuing their journey and endangering themselves and other road users.
“There is no quick fix for fatigue and using drugs in an attempt to combat it makes the situation more dangerous. The only way to fix fatigue is to stop and sleep or take a long break, or better still, manage work and rest in a way which avoids fatigue.
“Heavy vehicle drivers and their companies have enormous responsibility to do the right thing; as the mass of one of the vehicles in a crash increases, so does the severity of the crash.”
Operation AUSTRANS will run until Sunday, 8 June at undisclosed locations. Police will also continue to monitor the Fatal Five: speed, drug/alcohol misuse, seat belts, distraction and dangerous driving.