Posts Tagged ‘overnight linehaul trucking’

Professional trucking has become oxymoronic

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Speeding Truck CrashesAn out of control petrol tanker semi-trailer speeding 80kph down Mona Vale Road rolls and explodes, burning two motorists to death.
A further six people remain in hospital.  The truck was carrying 18,000 litres of fuel when it rolled and erupted into a fireball. Mona Vale in is Sydney’s north.
[Source:  The Daily Telegraph, 20131001, ^http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/driver-a-8216hero8217-after-runaway-tanker-explodes-in-mona-vale-victims-never-had-a-hope-witnesses-say/story-e6frea6u-1226730998888]

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The cause is unknown at this stage, but it is the consequence that is the issue, irrespective.

Hardly a day goes past without some news story about a truck crash on a Sydney road and this is compounded across Australia.

Yet in transport policy unison, governments across Australia at state and federal levels have abandoned rail freight and instead are headlong encouraging more and bigger trucks on our roads.  They are encouraging larger and long trucks and spending billions to accommodate them.  Road making has become governments’ panacea for solving linehaul freight challenges.   The numbers of trucks on local, suburban and regional roads across Australia must have doubled in the past decade or so.

At the same time, both levels of government have been lax for decades to ensure high standards of heavy vehicles and the professional competency of truck drivers.   Australian trucking has become a cowboy game plagued by industry cost cutting and unreasonable delivery expectations.  The industry’s problems compound down to the truckie.

Truck drivers across Australia are no longer paid a fair hourly rate for their work, but have been reduced to being paid by a minimalist ‘trip rate’.  So the more trips they do, the more they get paid.  Overnight linehaul trucking is a ticking time bomb.

Truck drivers across Australia more often than not are no longer paid employees who are professionally trained by their employers.  They are typically owner driver sub contractors with a massive bank mortgage tied to the truck or prime mover they own.  They only get paid by the runs they do and have all the burden of maintenance, repairs, insurance and loan repayments.  That is before paying themselves a wage.  Forget leave and superannuation.

Trucking industry professionalism is out the door. Anyone can get a truck licence.  The concept of trucking being a profession in Australia in the days of TNT and Mayne Nickless has long become a distant memory.  It is a mugs game now.

Truck drivers, motorists and roadside communities are the victims of dumbed down bad government transport policy.  The only ones who are benefiting from cheap dumbed down trucking are the trucking magnates and their corporate retail clients.  The politicians save money building trucking roads instead of big picture rail and integrated multimodal logistics.   But roads for trucks is short term thinking.  It is a policy that has ignored road users’ rights to expect the highest standards of road safety.

Australia’s trucking regime is sapping billions for faster and wider roads instead of long term investment in freight rail,just like their doing to the Great Western Highway to freight produce and goods across the continent.  It’s to hell with the local communities they rip up along the way.  It’s to hell with the native habitat they rip up to build wider and new trucking expressways.  When fuel and toxic chemicals spill from overturned trucks, it’s to hell with the downstream environment.

More roadside communities are increasing exposed to the risk of deadly speeding trucks, and people are dying as a result.

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Woodford residents fight for safer passageSafety First
Residents of the roadside community of Woodford in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney protest over losing their pedestrian crossing so that trucks can cruise nudging 90kph through their village.  [Photo by Jodi McConaghy, 20130608]

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The NSW Government’s RTA-come-RMS (roads authority) has “ripped the heart” out of Woodford.

Woodford Progress Association spokesman Ian Robinson told 100 residents in a protest rally last June that Woodford was “once known as the heart of the Mountains but the RMS has ripped the heart right out of our town”.  Mr Robinson says the current plans leaves the elderly stranded, splits the town in two and forces school children to make a large detour to get to their bus stop, he said.

“Without lights across the highway within the vicinity of the Woodford Academy, not only children, but also residents and fire brigade volunteers on the north side are cut off from south side neighbours [and] the elderly … are stranded in their own village,” he said.

The truck-centric civil engineers with the RTA-come-RMS expect local residents to take a two kilometre detour to use the pedestrian bridge at Woodford railway station.

Mr Robinson said:

“They also now tell us that they do not regard Woodford as a ‘town’ and that they want to run four lanes of traffic at 80 km/hr right through the heart of Woodford.”

Cheap but dangerous seagull intersections are to be built in the centre of the new wider trucking expressway between massive trucks doing 90kph down the hill through Woodford.

A third resident petition to the NSW Roads Minister has again been ignored. It’s all about trucks with the politicians.

(Former) councillor Geordie Williamson, a Woodford resident, says the plan also threatens the lives of the 2500 Woodford residents.

“The very least RMS can do is grant residents a safe means of crossing the newly-widened highway. Failing to do so will virtually guarantee injury or loss of life in the years to come,” Clr Williamson said. “The highway should not only be designed to massage the bottom line of freight haulage companies.”

[Source:  ‘Woodford fights for safer passage’, 20130620, by B. C Lewis, Blue Mountaisn Gazette, ^http://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/1585708/woodford-fights-for-safer-passage/]

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Speeding Truck Petrol TankerThe Mona Vale Road trucking experience
Coming to a roadside community near you.
 

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Footnote

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Government belatedly issues Cootes Transport with 126 Defect Notices


Cootes Transport.

<< Police believe mechanical problems are the most likely cause of the fatal crash involving the Cootes Transport petrol tanker since the out-of-control fuel tanker ploughed into a power pole and four cars before erupting in a fireball on Mona Vale Road.

A Mr Shane Day has been identified as the driver of the petrol tanker, who works for Cootes Transport.   It is not clear if he is an employee or a contractor, but industry probability would like be the latter and not paid by Cootes by the hour.

So two men were burnt alive when this Cootes petrol tanker lost control on Mona Vale Road at Mona Vale about 3:40pm (AEST) yesterday.  Police say the dead men are a 71-year-old local and a man in his 60s from interstate.  Both men were travelling in the same car, when this trucking wall of death bore down upon them.

Assistant Police Commissioner John Hartley:

“It certainly looks like they were killed at the scene by the fire rather than the crash itself.”    

They were burnt alive.

Twelve trucks operated by Cootes Transport have been taken off the road.   Inspectors from the New South Wales Government’s Roads and Maritime Services have subsequently inspected more than 80 Cootes Transport trucks at checking stations in Sydney and Newcastle late this afternoon.  The company has been issued with 26 defect notices and 12 trucks have been taken off the road.

[Ed:  A belated slap on the wrist for purported negligence causing two men to burn to death, just to pacify the media and political fallout.  Government reactive and random monitoring of safety is negligent cost cutting and so life costing.  At no time should unroadworthy trucks be in service.  At no time should unprofessional heavy vehicle drivers be behind the wheel.  It must cost more, and so be it. Next week as the media interest fades, it’ll be government trucking as usual and billion dollar truck magnate profit as usual].

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Mr Hartley:

“We’re investigating a number of factors that may have contributed to the crash but at this stage we’re looking at the possibility of mechanical failure on the truck itself.  That’s probably the most important lead we have at this stage. The vehicle needs to be fully examined properly.  At the end of the day we’ll find that something quite simple such as mechanical failure or a mistake by the driver has caused these fatal consequences.”

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Meanwhile, the toxic spill caused by a fuel tanker’s 18,000 litres of petrol from the exploded tanker has flooded and contaminated surrounding waterways and bushland.

A mix of fuel and fire retardant has leaked into the surrounding waterways for at least a 1.5 kilometre radius.

Fire retardant and fuel pollute surrounding waterwaysA toxic mix of 18,000 litres of petrol and fire retardant polluting surrounding waterways.
Without trucks Australia may stop, but with the current trucking mentality people are dying, like the two men burnt to death in the above car.
(Source:  ABC News)

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NSW Fire Brigade Superintendent Ian Krimmer:

“It is a big operation to clean up the leaking fuel which has seeped into drains and waterways at Mona Vale.  We’re placing sand in a number of those drains to contain the fuel spillage,” he said.  It’s still unknown how much fuel has leaked into those drains. It could take several days to mop up and clean up that particular situation.”

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Without trucks Australia stopsWith Trucks Australia Stops

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[Sources:  ‘Cootes trucks taken off the road after fatal tanker explosion in Mona Vale’, 20131002, ^http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-02/mechanical-failure-suspected-cause-of-tanker-explosion/4994502;  ‘Truck driver’s name revealed’, 20131004, ^http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/1819612/truck-drivers-name-revealed/?cs=332;   ‘Toxic spill clean-up continues after fatal tanker crash at Mona Vale in Sydney’s north’, 20131002, ^http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-01/two-dead-in-fuel-tanker-crash-in-sydney27s-north/4991974]

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