Posts Tagged ‘b-doubles’

Governments’ trucking mindset

Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Riverside Refridgerated Transport crashRiverside Refridgerated Transport semi-trailer loses control at speed at night in the wet on the Great Western Highway in an 80kph zone
Then crashes into a Springwood home narrowly missing the occupants.
Last Monday 20130916 near midnight

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This loaded semi-trailer was being driven by 43 year old truck driver from Cowra, where Riverside Refridgerated Transport is based.   It was near midnight and he was likely delivering refridgerated farm produce to Sydney markets.

Problem is that it was wet and along that section of the Great Western Highway through Springwood the speed limit is 80kph.  So the truck driver must have been either speeding or fell asleep at the wheel, or both.  The semi careered off the highway on the right bend and ploughed into a telegraph pole, cutting it in half under the force, then crashed into the side yard of 2 Boland Avenue, just metres from the house and its innocent occupants.

Semi trailor crashSo much for carting Cowra’s best produce to market
Pay peanuts, cut corners…

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The crash also ruptured a gas main, which caused a significant leak, causing all west bound lanes of the highway to be closed for one and a half hours.  Police also had to evacuate residents from another two nearby homes.

[Source:  ‘Driver, family escape close call’, 20130917,  Cowra Guardian newspaper, ^http://www.cowraguardian.com.au/story/1781566/driver-family-escape-close-call/]

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What caused the crash?  The media is quick to report the crash as a newsworthy story, but rarely investigates the cause nor takes much interest in the repeated recurrence on our highways.

The government authority responsible for trucking operations and for road design and safety across New South Wales is the Roads and Maritime Services (the old RTA-com-RMS, just rebranded).   There is no crash barrier on this right bend of the Great Western Highway, yet this particular road section allows for all vehicles to travel at 80 kph.  It is just past a down hill run, so how many vehicles travelling east typically nudge 90 kph, including trucks?

The RTA-come-RMS doesn’t care.  Has it ever had speed monitoring at this location?  Road policy at the RTA-come-RMS is that crash barriers and upgrades to highway safety are not implemented unless there is a history of “crash data”.  Someone has to die before the RTA-come-RMS does anything.

Consider the nearby George Street intersection with the Great Western Highway just a kilometre east.  When the highway was widened gto four lanes and tranformed into a 80 kph trucking expressway, George Street access was without traffic lights.  Entry into the highway was Russian Roulette.   Around this four laned expressway section of the Great Western Highway between 2000 and 2010, as it travels through Springwood, some 137 crashes have been documented according to Blue Mountains Council records.  [Source:  ‘Springwood to Valley Heights Link Road -Traffic Modelling Report, 20120408, by GST Consultants p.5, – see report attached at end of this article].

Wider and faster is not safer!   More faster bigger trucks are not safer!

Midnight trucking is inherently deadly because late and night and the early hours of the morning only defies the human biological clock when humans naturally need sleep.  Graveyard shift work on the road through the night is killing truck drivers and fellow motorists sharing the highway.  Midnight trucking is a ticking time bomb.

Dog tired
Fatigue Management is a farce
…just don’t forget to spell towns properly in your log book.

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Yet governments across Australia including the New South Wales government are encouraging this unnatural practice, by accommodating the trucking industry with bigger roads and transforming regional highways like the Great Western Highway into national trucking expressways.

And as they build bigger roads for bigger trucks, they destroy the environment and roadside communities.

Bullaburra on the Great Western HighwayBullaburra disappearing

Photo by Editor in Blue Mountains, Australia, 20130630, photo © under  ^Creative Commons]
Click image to enlarge

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Australian governments at national and state levels are changing laws to allow for larger and longer trucks  B-doubles and B-triples to do the overnight linehaul task best suited to trains.

AB-Triples B-triples (basically ‘road-trains’) have already been introduced on regional highways in South Australian, Queensland and Victoria

Yet despite national legislation to try to address the systemic fatigue problem amongst linehaul truck drivers, goivernment agencies like the RTA-come-RMS provbide not fatigue managemnent infratructure along the entire length of the Great Western Higwhay between Penrith and Orange.

It’s a disgraceful “she’ll be right” mindset – just use the servos or park your rig on the highway shoulder outside local residents homes, like opposite the Caltex servo in Mount Victiria and leave  your refrigerator compressor on all night.

Truck crashes into houseMidnight Refridgeration
…passing through a town near you

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Five days previously in Adelaide, on Wednesday 20130911, at about 1:00 am a B-Double left Glen Osmond Drive in the suburb of Frewville and collected a parked van, stobie pole, water hydrant and gas meter, before coming to a rest in the front of the Singapore House restaurant at 203 Glen Osmond Road.

[Source:  ‘B-Double truck crash ends in restaurant’, 20130911, by Brett Williamson, ABC, ^http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/09/11/3846020.htm].

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Last week, a speeding truck careered down a hill and overturned into a house at Cottage Point in northern Sydney.

[Source”:  ‘Truck crashes into cars, boats and house’, 20130904, Yahoo!7, ^http://au.news.yahoo.com/video/national/watch/18778570/truck-crashes-into-cars-boats-and-house/]

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In February this year, a B-double ploughed into a residential house in Sydney.

B-double crashes into Sydney house 2103

[Source:  9RAW, 20130226, ^http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/9raw-truck-crashes-into-sydney-home/x6ztgyn?cpkey=8b31708a-606a-4ae7-b648-e55d939f0796%257c%257c%257c%257c]

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Sand Truck smashes into Adelaide house 2011Sand Truck smashes into Adelaide house 2011

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'Highway Mayhem' (BMG 20110803)Not the first time for midnight trucking on four laned sections of the Great Western Highway
..and this is before you get to the deadly six-laned M4.

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Still, the NSW Government remains manifestly committed to its 20th Century trucking mindset, ignoring big picture freight rail.  It has this week just announced it will spend $11.5 billion on a 33 km trucking motorway across Sydney.  That is nearly a third of the annual Gross Domestic Product of New South Wales.

Just as the F3 was widened from two lanes each way, the existing M4 is to be widened to four lanes each way.

[Source:  ‘Green light given for the 115 billion west connex motorway’, 20130919, by Andrew Clennell State Political Editor, The Daily Telegraph, ^http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/green-light-given-for-the-115-billion-west-connex-motorway/story-fni0cx12-1226722391732]

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And then there’s the billion dollar trucking bypass of Mount Victoria on the cards.

Massively Viaduct Scar below Mt VictoriaArtist’s scary impression…more trucking expressways.

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Further Reading:

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[1]   ‘Springwood to Valley Heights Link Road – Traffic Modelling Report, 20120408, by GTA Consultants, ^http://bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/document/show/644

>Download document    (6MB, 193 pages, PDF)

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