Australian police will today conduct the nation’s largest-ever heavy vehicle compliance operation in multiple locations across New South Wales.
“Operation Rolling Thunder” will see NSW Police conduct inspections of trucks and heavy vehicles across the state as well as driver drug and alcohol tests, according to a police statement released today.
More than 300 NSW Police officers and 150 NSW Roads and Maritime Services officers will be patrolling every entry and exit point into the state as well as the entire Sydney metropolitan area, all heavy vehicle checking stations and every major motorway.
The operation comes as a response to a two-day period in January where three individual NSW road accidents involving trucks saw five people killed.
On January 15, a man died after three trucks – including a tanker carrying ethanol – and a car collided on the M1 in the NSW Lake Macquarie region. On the same day, two truck drivers were also killed in a head-on collision near Grafton.
A day later, two more people died and 10 more hospitalised after a truck smashed into six other stationary vehicles that were stopped for roadworks on the Newell Highway in Central West NSW.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the NSW Police Traffic & Highway Patrol Command told media authorities “won’t tolerate this any further” and said his team is “determined as a state to make sure that we make the roads as safe as possible”.
“Those heavy vehicles focused everyone’s attention on the dangers of heavy vehicles and the innocent lives that were taken,” he said.
“Last year we lost 68 people as a result of heavy vehicle collisions and to be honest, we’ve had enough. We’ve come away from the three crashes we’ve had which cost 5 lives and we’ve planned this to make sure that everyone knows that we won’t tolerate this any further.
“Enough is enough. Today we’re making a stand, we’re going to show everyone that we’re taking heavy vehicle crashes seriously and we’re going to make sure that every vehicle that we see is checked.”
In addition to routine safety checks and drug and alcohol tests, Mr Corboy also said that the inspection checks will focus on truck drivers, truck quality, roadworthiness, fatigue and truck load management systems.
Queensland, Victorian, ACT, and South Australian Police are conducting simultaneous operations throughout the day.
Roger Weeks, director compliance with the NSW RMS, told media that between 6am and 10am this morning two major truck defects and seven overloaded trucks had been uncovered as a result of the inspections.
“This is not a good start to the day but pleasingly we’ve also found trucks that are fully compliant and safe. So that is our focus today, that’s our focus every day,” he said.
“For those cowboy truckies, for those dishonest companies and for those parties in the supply chain who are placing unreasonable demands on the trucking industry, you’re in our sights.
“For those reputable trucking companies, for those professional truck drivers who do the right thing on our roads every day, you have nothing to worry about.”
Mr Weeks also warned road users of cars and motorbikes to be wary of truck when driving and to recognise that they cannot move or brake as fast as smaller vehicles.
“Please take extra care when we’re moving around trucks on the road, we need to share the road and we need to recognise that they are different and we have to treat them with respect,” he said.
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