National blitz on truckies but police figures show they’re not the main danger


Last year 56 people died in truck collisions, 10 per cent more than the previous year.

The heavy vehicle driver was not at fault in 65 per cent of the 48 collisions.

Police have called on all road users to change their behaviour when sharing the road with heavy vehicles.

Over the next month, police nationwide will run Operation Austrans, directed towards heavy vehicle road safety.

It will focus on highways connecting Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, and will include drug-testing of truck drivers and checking of their work diaries.

Supt Neville Taylor said there were four double fatalities and two triple fatalities among the 48 fatal collisions involving heavy vehicles in 2010.

“We know that when a heavy vehicle is involved in a road collision, chances are the outcome is not going to be good. These machines can weigh up to 65 tonnes, and when they collide with a motorcycle or small car, you know who is going to come off second best,” he said.

The Australian Trucking Association’s Bill McKinley said car drivers could follow a number of tips for sharing the road safely with trucks.

“The first is to never cut in front of a truck and slam on the brakes, because even though they have very good brakes now, the truck will not be able to stop in the same time you can,” he said.

“Never overtake a turning truck on the left-hand side.

“Trucks are able to legally turn from the centre lane because they need the room, and many accidents between cars and trucks in metropolitan areas are caused this way,” he said.

“And remember that if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. Be aware of blind spots.”

The operation will run statewide throughout May and focus on the Western Highway, Hamilton Highway, Princes Freeway, Hume Freeway, Calder Freeway, and South Gippsland Highway.