Posts Tagged ‘RTA Blue Mountains’

Expressways for a trucking cowboy industry

Saturday, August 24th, 2013
Great Western Highway Bullaburra
Native woodland at Bullaburra alongside the Great Western Highway
Bulldozed for a trucking expressway
[Photo by Editor 20130630,© under  ^Creative Commons]
Click image to enlarge
 
 

The Great Western Highway across the Blue Mountains continues to be transformed from a regional highway through town and villages into an ugly concrete 4-laned trucking expressway.

Everything in the path of the road legions is being destroyed.  Forests, hillsides, communities all are cast aside for more, bigger and faster trucks.

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SlaughterThe moral relativism of killing

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It is along these faster wider sections of the expressway, like the M4 that the road collisions and deaths are manifesting.  Speed kills, but the RTA-come-RMS adopts the gun lobby attitude that it is not speed that kills but the people behind the wheels that kill.

Bullaburra Blue Skies Village
The same native woodland before the dozers
[Photo by Editor 20110610,© under  ^Creative Commons]
Click image to enlarge

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Bullaburra's remnant Angophora woodlandThe woodland that has been lost:  Bullaburra’s remnant Angophora woodland
Few people were aware of  its existence below the highway
[Photo by Editor 20110610,© under  ^Creative Commons]
Click image to enlarge

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Urunga protest againts speeding trucksThe trucks keep speeding
and the RTA-come-RMS keeps building larger and faster highways to encourage them.
[Source:  locals protest against speeding trucks at Urunga on the New South Wales north coast, ‘
RMS hears rally message’ (but ignores it as usual), by Ute Schulenberg, 20120216, Coffs Harbour Advocate,
^http://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/rms-hears-rally-message/1274282/]

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Great Western Highway increasingly one of Australia’s riskiest roads

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<< Four people were killed in four separate local highway smashes over just 44 days earlier this year (2010) — three of those smashes involved trucks. Stark proof of why our Great Western Highway has been rated among Australia’s riskiest roads.

The Australian Roads Assessment Programme – AusRAP – gave the GWH only two stars out of five for safety in 2007, using data from 2000-2004. A poor result after so many millions had been poured into its improvement.  AusRAP is an initiative of the Australian Automobile Association, the state motoring associations’ peak body. It says the degree of risk, or just how safe a road is, depends to an extent on whether safety has been built-in to it with elements such as wide lanes and shoulders and safety barriers, which are known to have an impact on the likelihood of a crash and its severity.

Perhaps the GWH will score better than two stars out of five next time – if AusRAP ever gets the money to re-rate it.

As any road safety expert will tell you, getting the toll down depends on three essential goals: safer roads, safer vehicles and safer drivers.

It’s for accident investigators and the Coroner to apportion blame in those four recent GWH smashes; however, we can use them as a warning about what needs to be done to reduce deaths and injuries on the GWH.

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Safer Roads?

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The GWH scores so poorly on AusRAP’s safety scale for three key deficiencies:

  • not enough overtaking lanes
  • not enough divided carriageway
  • not enough barriers between carriageways

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No median crash barrier No Median Crash Barrier
Three killed in a horror head-on crash on country highway near Yunta, South Australia
[Source:  Sunday Mail (SA), 20120812,
^http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/three-confirmed-dead-after-head-on-crash-on-country-highway-near-yunta/story-e6frea83-1226448085377]

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Not surprising then that three of those four recent smashes were head-on collisions where one vehicle crossed onto the wrong side of the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The fourth involved a truck doing the same thing, but fortunately no oncoming vehicle was in its path and the truck ended up embedded in a residental property.

Two of those smashes occurred on an improved section of the highway where there was no barrier between carriageways.

About 14,000 vehicles a day travel on the Blue Mountains section of the GWH. Heavy vehicles make up about 15 per cent of this traffic with more than half the road freight transport between the central west and Sydney using the highway.

The upgrade of the GWH in the Blue Mountains involves widening it to four lanes between Emu Plains and Katoomba and to mostly three lanes between Katoomba and Mount Victoria at a cost of many hundreds of millions.

There’s a limit to how fast it can be done, but it’s sad to reflect on how many innocent lives may be lost over the next decade simply due to the absence of a crash barrier between carriageways.

Narrow Highway ShouldersNarrow highway shoulders
making breakdowns a death trap
 

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Safer Vehicles?

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Each year in Australia around 200 people are killed in ‘under-run’ crashes. Most of the victims are the occupants of the cars involved.

Front Under-run Protection Systems [FUPS] can reduce this carnage, as the NRMA emphasised in its recent report on The Safety Needs of Heavy Vehicles in Australia[Ed: see details below at end]

These systems prevent a car from becoming trapped under the front of a truck in the event of a collision between the two, thereby ensuring the car’s safety features such as seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones remain fully effective. Some trucks already have FUPS.

FUPS must now be fitted to all new models of heavy vehicles (over 12 tonnes) from January 2011 and to all existing models from January 2012.

Head on crash with Truck

The NRMA report also called for side and rear under-run barriers on trucks. “Rigid trucks are particulartly dangerous in regard to rear under-run,” it said, “as there is generally a long overhang on the tray, which leads to a substantial under-run distance for impacting cars with consequent serious injuries for occupants, including decapitation.”

It also called for stability control on prime-movers and trailers, improved brakes, tamper-proof electronic on-board monitors, Advanced Emergency Braking Systems and a timeline for their implementation.

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The predicted result:  more and bigger trucks on the road with an increasing trend towards articulated vehicles with multiple trailers.

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“The manual log-book system for monitoring driving hours and driver behaviour has long since lost any vestige of credibility,” the NRMA reported. “Widespread abuse of the system and difficulties in enforcing requirements, along with high levels of fatigue related crashes mean that urgent action must be taken.”

Australia’s freight task in 2020 is expected to be double that of 2006, according to research cited by the NRMA, and by 2050 to be triple its current size. “Given that the rail system cannot cater, or is unsuitable, for accommodating this increase,” the NRMA says, “it is the road system that will bear the brunt.”  [Ed:  The NRMA derives its revenue from road users, so it is inherently biased towards advocating for more roads and opposed to freight rail, and wil not even consider rail, because it has no potential revenue to gain].

The predicted result is more and bigger trucks on the road with an increasing trend towards articulated vehicles with multiple trailers. >>

[Source:  ‘Surviving the Highway with Trucks’, Edn #1,  June 2010, Whistler, ^http://www.bloogle.com.au/whistler/trucks_story.php]

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Cowboy Truckers speed tampering, falsifying logbooks, doing drugs

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Truck rollover
Speeding B-Double on the Pacific Highway – driver pushed to the limit 24/7?
[Source:  ‘Pacific Highway delays to continue’, by  Dominic Feain, 20120511, photo by Mireille Merlet-Shaw
^http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/pacific-highway-delays-too-continue/1377202/]

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<< Bobbin South Coast operations manager Brendon Bobbin is behind bars and the fleet of 30 trucks and 50 trailers under investigation after a Police raid swept the highways to target alleged drug use, fatigue and speed compliance yesterday (Thursday).

Mr Bobbin, 41, has been under investigation about the alleged use and supply of prohibited drugs during the operation of heavy vehicles as part of Operation Felled, formed to investigate the 40-year-old family company’s operations and compliance with road transport legislation.

The operation hit the ground in force today targeting speed tampering, fatigue offences and vehicle compliance, including workbook and system breaches, and involved Engine Control Modules (ECM) downloads and drug and alcohol testing.

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“All heavy vehicles should have tamper-proof on board monitoring to ensure drivers comply with the law and electronic stability control to help protect motorists from truck mass and momentum.”

~ NRMA, July 2007.

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Mr Bobbin was arrested at South Pambula at 7.55am with Police allegedly seizing an amount of prohibited drugs and drug paraphernalia in a vehicle and prohibited drugs inside the premise.

Bobbins ArrestedBrendon Bobbin is led away after being arrested at South Coast Bobbins depot on Thursday.
With him are Eden police officers Constable Andrew Kuzmins and Sergeant Scott Blanch (right).

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He was charged at Eden Police Station with supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, supply prohibited drugs (two counts) and possess prohibited drugs (two counts) and later appeared at Batemans Bay Local Court.

Mr Bobbin will next appear in court via video link on August 26.   Bobbins South Coast Transport’s faces penalties in excess of $43,000 as Police investigate speed and fatigue management.

Police seized company computer records and documents from the South Pambula site and a company depot in Ingleburn this morning.

Bobbins Transport inspected by poilice

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Fleet drivers were also targeted across the state with Police intercepting trucks for vehicle and driver checks on major highways across Sydney.  Five drivers will appear in court facing fatigue related offences and a further two were dealt infringement notices of $2092 for speed tampering and compliance issues.

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No Doze

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Sixteen defect notices were issued by RMS for a range of minor and major defects including brakes, tyres, oil and fuel issues, and suspension, body/chassis, and tow couplings.

A further 10 infringements have been issued for other defects, fatigue, and ECM offences.

Police Superintendent Stuart Smith, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said today’s operation is only the start for truckies and operators who are not compliant with legislation.

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Police Superintendent Stuart Smith:

“This operation is part of our ongoing commitment to stamping out rogue operators on our major highways and roads,” he said.  “There is no place in the trucking industry for alleged speed and fatigue enhancing, by tampering with equipment or taking illegal drugs. 

Fatigued drivers or those under the influence behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle put motorists at serious risk on our roads.  Every year for the last three years, there have been in excess of 80 fatalities on our roads involving heavy vehicles.  Our message is clear to operators and drivers, clean up your act before we do it for you.”

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RMS General Manager of Compliance Operation, Mr Paul Endycott, said today’s operation by the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce highlights the important work this group carry out to keep roads safe for all motorists.

“The fatigue issues and speed limiter tampering identified is deeply concerning and shows there is still work to be done to ensure the majority of honest, hard working truck drivers and operators are not unfairly associated with such dangerous and illegal behaviour,” Mr Endycott said. >>

.[Source:  ‘Drugs, speed and fatigue as police target Bobbins trucking’, 20130822, ^http://www.batemansbaypost.com.au/story/1724590/videophotos-drugs-speed-and-fatigue-as-police-target-bobbins-trucking/?cs=12]

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Police ‘Operation Felled’ – the official police version…

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<< NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) officers have executed search warrants and intercepted a company’s fleet of heavy vehicles as part of an investigation into alleged speed tampering and compliance.

Operation Felled was formed by Traffic and Highway Patrol and Far South Coast LAC, to investigate one company’s daily operations and compliance with road transport legislation.

The operation which is ongoing targeted speed tampering, fatigue offences and vehicle compliance, including workbook and system breaches, and involved engine control modules (ECM) downloads and drug and alcohol testing.

About 7.55am today, a 41-year-old Greigs Flat man was arrested at a South Pambula address. He has been charged with supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, supply prohibited drugs (x2) and possess prohibited drugs (x2). He was refused bail to appear in Batemans Bay Local Court today (Thursday 22 August 2013).

The man’s arrest relates to inquiries into the alleged use and supply of prohibited drugs during the operation of heavy vehicles.

About 8am today (Thursday 22 August 2013), police executed warrants at Pambula on the South Coast and Greigs Flat, as well as a company depot in Ingleburn. Officers also intercepted fleet trucks in transit on major highways across Sydney, checking compliance and drug and alcohol testing drivers.

At the Greigs Flat address, officers allegedly located an amount of prohibited drugs and drug paraphernalia in a vehicle and prohibited drugs inside the premise. These were seized by police.

During the warrants, investigators seized company computer records and documents allegedly relating to speed and fatigue management and responsibilities.

Two trucks were identified for speed tampering and compliance issues, resulting in two drivers receiving infringements for $2092. The RMS will now investigate these matters further in terms of the company’s compliance with speed requirements.

A company convicted of speed tampering faces penalties in excess of $16,000, while directors can also be held responsible. Company’s convicted of breaches of fatigue requirements can face penalties in excess of $27,000.

So far during the operation, 16 defects have been issued by RMS for a range of minor and major defects inclusive of brakes, tyres, oil and fuel issues, and suspension, body/chassis, and tow couplings.

Police and RMS have inspected 18 trucks in NSW, five were identified interstate, which resulted in five court attendance notices issued to drivers for fatigue-related offences. A further 10 infringements have been issued for other defects, fatigue, and ECM offences.

Superintendent Stuart Smith, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said today’s operation is only the start for truckies and operators who are not compliant with our legislation.

“This operation is part of our ongoing commitment to stamping out rogue operators on our major highways and roads.

“There is no place in the trucking industry for alleged speed and fatigue enhancing, by tampering with equipment or taking illegal drugs. Fatigued drivers or those under the influence behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle put motorists at serious risk on our roads.

“Every year for the last three years, there have been in excess of 80 fatalities on our roads involving heavy vehicles.

“Our message is clear to operators and drivers, clean up your act before we do it for you,” Superintendent Smith said.

RMS General Manager of Compliance Operation, Mr Paul Endycott, said today’s operation by the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce highlights the important work this group carry out to keep our roads safe for all motorists.

“The fatigue issues and speed limiter tampering identified is deeply concerning and shows there is still work to be done to ensure the majority of honest, hard working truck drivers and operators are not unfairly associated with such dangerous and illegal behaviour,” Mr Endycott said.

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[Source:  ‘NSW Police and RMS intercept truck fleet targeting compliance – Operation Felled’, 20130822, ^http://www.police.nsw.gov.au…]

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Coles Freshness policy blamed for deliver truck speeding regime

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<< Transport Workers Union deputy secretary Michael Aird has called on Coles to take responsibility for rogue operators in its supply chain after police arrested one of its drivers on the NSW South Coast this week.

Thursday’s arrest (Bobbins Transport) was part of an operation targeting the alleged use and supply of prohibited drugs during the operation of heavy vehicles.

During the warrants, investigators also seized company computer records and documents allegedly relating to speed and fatigue management and responsibilities.

Mr Aird says the problem is a systemic one and people really need to understand that it is part of a bigger picture.

“When a giant retailer like Coles pushes down rates, drivers end up being forced into dangerous practices that will kill people on our roads,” Mr Aird said.

Coles FreshFresh to you thanks to No Doze

 

“Desperate companies unfortunately resort to outrageous and illegal practices just to stay in business because of the enormous pressures imposed on them by Coles.

“People need to understand that one of the real costs of Coles driving prices down to increase profits is putting dangerously unsafe trucking companies onto our public roads.”

Mr Aird said truck drivers being forced to work under enormous pressure from unrealistic deadlines imposed by large retail giants contributed to the more than 300 deaths on Australian roads each year.

“This is why the TWU continues to campaign for Safe Rates for our members and for all Australians using our roads: which mean fair pay for truck drivers and safe roads for drivers.

“The Coles business model is driving companies into unsafe practices and costing innocent people their lives,” Mr Aird said.

The trucking company, Bobbins, is in the Coles supply chain and contracting for Coles. It has previously been involved in serious accidents and had been found to be tampering with speed limiters.  >>
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[Source: ‘TWU slams Coles for driving trucking safety standards down’, 20130823, ^http://www.batemansbaypost.com.au/story/1725810/twu-slams-coles-for-driving-trucking-safety-standards-down/?cs=229]

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2012:  Cowboy Truckers discovered yet Duncan Gay makes no systemic overhaul

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<< Calls have grown for an overhaul of the trucking industry after the discovery of systemic safety breaches by (Lennons) transport company linked to a triple road fatality in Sydney.

The NSW government announced it would spring spot checks on heavy vehicles but says it will await the outcome of a police investigation into Lennons Transport Services before taking further action.

Police descended on the company early yesterday after one of their drivers was charged over the January 24 accident on the Hume Highway in Menangle.

They later said they had found safety breaches, including attempts to manipulate speed limiters, on eight Lennons trucks.

Operation Marshall was formed after Calvyn Logan, 59, and his elderly parents Donald and Patricia Logan, aged in their 80s, died on January 24 when a B-double truck careered onto the wrong side of the road.

On Tuesday police charged Vincent George, 33, with three counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.

He will appear in Campbelltown Local Court on May 16.

Yesterday, officers converged on the company’s headquarters at Enfield, in Sydney’s inner-west, and alerted authorities across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

They allegedly located 19 of 35 vehicles and found speed limiters on seven of the trucks had been altered so they could travel beyond the maximum 100km/h speed limit.

An eighth vehicle had its fuel system altered to deliver more fuel to the engine in order to achieve higher speeds, police said.

One driver was found with cannabis in his possession and another had exceeded fatigue restrictions by driving 17 hours in one day.

Police located another Lennons truck abandoned on a roadside in Victoria and the driver’s logbook in a nearby rubbish bin.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander John Hartley said police also located doctored logbooks and many devices used to manipulate speed limits at Lennons offices.

RMS regulatory services director, Peter Wells, said tampering with trucks to exceed maximum speeds was well known in the industry.

“There is a practice in the industry of modifying speed limiters,” Mr Wells told reporters in Sydney.

He would not comment on whether the RMS had been investigating Lennons before the crash but expected charges to be laid.

But the RMS did confirm that Lennons was slapped with a court supervisory intervention order in 2008 as a “systematic or persistent offender” of road laws.

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson yesterday called on the state government to investigate the industry.

But when asked if a widespread review of the industry was needed, Premier Barry O’Farrell said “anything in that sense will be informed by what is discovered in this instance”.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said trucks would be subject to random checks to stop “cowboy” operators from illegally tampering with them.

“I certainly would describe it as a blitz, and it’s not the end,” Mr Gay said yesterday.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon blamed retailers like Coles and Woolworths for putting “crazy” deadlines on drivers.

“The people that have been driving (with) these unsafe practices, and trucks being interfered with, has been as a result of the economic pressure from Coles and the other major retailers.”

Lennons has been a member of TruckSafe since 1999, a voluntary regulatory scheme administered by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), which gives transport companies federal fuel tax credits.   Auditors contact members in advance of an inspection but only inspect maintenance records.  They were last inspected in June 2010 and no breaches were found.

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[Source:  ‘Truck fatalities spark overhaul calls’, 20120223, by Vincent Morello (AAP), ^http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/truck-fatalities-spark-overhaul-calls/story-fn6ck4a4-1226278707468]

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Give ’em an inch…

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B-Triple Truck

<< Modular B-triple truck configurations will now be allowed on the Newell Highway from Narrabri to Goondiwindi in NSW.

As part of national heavy vehicle reforms, modular B-triples are allowed to operate on the road train network west of the Newell under the same conditions as Type 1 road trains.

Transport operators travelling from far western NSW, e.g. on the Kamilaroi Highway, will now be able to access the Newell at Narrabri to use the 225 kilometre stretch of highway to Goondiwindi, and then beyond.

Even though they have an extra (third) trailer, modular B-triples are typically shorter than Type 1 road trains currently operating on this section of the Newell.

Modern modular B-triples are said to be safer than some of the older and heavier vehicle combinations using these routes, especially in terms of their manoeuvrability and handling performance. Being articulated they follow the road better.

Industry research has shown that a semi-trailer operating at a higher mass limit (HML) takes approximately 37 trips to transport 1,000 tonnes of freight, whereas for the same tonnage a modular B-triple operating at HML only requires about 17 trips.

The stretch of the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi has been determined as having suitable infrastructure to accommodate these types of trucks.

  • Type 1 Road Train Max length = 36.5 metres
  • Modular B-triple Max length = 35.0 metres

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B-triple-truck-and-road-train

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The roads west of the Newell, on which Type 1 road trains and modular B-triples currently operate, have significantly lower traffic volumes than the Newell itself.

For this reason, and to ensure consistency with the existing approach taken for routes on and east of the highway, modular B-triples using the Newell itself will be required to meet additional requirements including:

  •     Accreditation under the maintenance module of National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS);
  •     Road-friendly suspension; and
  •     Enrolment in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP)

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Consistent with requirements already in place for road trains and modular B-triples in this part of NSW, vehicles will need to comply with a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h.

In April this year, the NSW Government and Transport Certification Australia (TCA) announced a new entry options initiative and flexible pricing framework to help reduce the costs of transport operators implementing and using IAP.

The entry options arrangement recognises transport operators have existing in-vehicle GPS units and makes it easier for transport operators to have their existing in-vehicle units assessed and type-approved to comply with national IAP standards.

Modular B-triples are expected to start using the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi from late August, subject to permit approval.

Operators interested in applying for permits should contact iap@rms.nsw.gov.au.

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[Source:   ‘B-triple network expanded to Newell Highway’,  20130808, by Charles Pauka, Transport & Logistics News, ^http://www.tandlnews.com.au/2013/08/08/article/b-triple-network-expanded-to-newell-highway/]

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B Triple Cyclist KillerB-Triple Cyclist Killer

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Further Reading:

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[1]    ‘Bigger Trucks Mean More Dangerous Highways‘, Coalition against bigger trucks’,  ^http://cabt.org/assets/downloads/Safety_White_Paper_-_040711.pdf

>Download Document  (PDF, 2 pages, 120kb)

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[2]   ‘The Safety Needs of Heavy Vehicles in Australia‘, 2010, by NRMA, New South Wales, ^http://www.mynrma.com.au/media/Heavy_Vehicle_Safety_Report_March_2010.pdf

>Download Document (PDF, 11 pages, 230kb)

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[3]   ‘Chain of Responsibility- Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue‘, ^http://www.ntc.gov.au/filemedia/Publications/HVDF_ChainResponsibility_July08.pdf

>Download Document (PDF, 4 pages, 1.1 MB)

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[4]   ‘Truck Safety Alert:  The Rising Danger from Trucks, and How to Stop It‘, ^http://www.takejusticeback.com/sites/default/files/AAJ%20Truck%20Report%202013%20FINAL.pdf

>Download Document  (PDF, 18 pages, 870 kb)

Trucking Danger

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[5]   ‘Truck Driver Behaviour and Perceptions Study‘, 1991, by Monash University,   ^http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/muarc018.pdf

>Download Document  (PDF,  105 pages, 4.5 MB)

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[6]   ‘Groups come together to keep freight on rail‘, ^http://freoroad2rail.org/sites/default/files/Groups%20come%20together%20to%20keep%20freight%20on%20rail.pdf

>Download Document  (PDF, 1 page, 96kb)

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[7]    ‘From Truck to Train – 12 Examples Of Successful Modal Shifts in Freight Transport‘, by Allianz pro Schiene, ^http://www.unife.org/uploads/From_Truck_to_Train.pdf

>Download Document  (PDF, 46 pages, 2.6 MB)

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Great Western Highway
Sign reads:  “Watch Out for Cyclists”
Another why bother RTA-come-RMS safety measure
on the Great Western Highway at Boddington Hill, Wentworth Falls
(Note: roadside native trees already chainsawed ahead of the impending expressway)
[Photo by Editor 20120201,© under  ^Creative Commons]
Click image to enlarge.

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