Op Rolling Thun­der ig­nores prob­lem

Big Rigs - - INDUSTRY OPINION - RICHARD OLSEN TWU NSW State Sec­re­tary

IN NEW South Wales, the Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner, Michael Cor­boy, has an­nounced Op­er­a­tion Rolling Thun­der, de­scribed as “Aus­tralia’s largest ever heavy ve­hi­cle com­pli­ance op­er­a­tion”.

It was headed up by the NSW Po­lice in con­junc­tion with the RMS and also sup­ported by the Queens­land, Vic­to­ria, ACT and South Aus­tralian Po­lice Forces.

The Trans­port Work­ers’ Union, like ev­ery­one else in our in­dus­try, sup­ports any ini­tia­tive that keeps truck driv­ers and other road users safe.

But just like ev­ery driver on the road, we know that this op­er­a­tion will not solve the prob­lems.

Again, the true causes of truck-re­lated deaths are be­ing ignored in favour of band-aid so­lu­tions.

Th­ese so­lu­tions do not ad­dress the is­sue, and as usual, truck driv­ers are be­ing pun­ished for the con­di­tions forced upon them while the em­ploy­ers re­spon­si­ble get away with it.

In NSW alone, deaths from truck-re­lated ac­ci­dents have risen by 86 per cent since the Fed­eral Govern­ment abol­ished the road safety watch­dog, but the NSW Govern­ment con­tin­ues to sit on its hands when it comes to pro­vid­ing cru­cial, state-based pol­icy.

Ev­ery day we have mem­bers telling us about the dan­ger­ous pres­sure they’re forced to work un­der, and the data backs them up.

A 2015 Safe Work

❝A 2016 Mac­quarie Uni­ver­sity re­port found that 42 per cent of owner-driv­ers said the rea­son driv­ers did not re­port safety breaches was be­cause they be­lieved they would be sacked.

Aus­tralia re­port found that 20 per cent of trans­port em­ploy­ers break safety rules to meet dead­lines, and 20 per cent ac­cept dan­ger­ous be­hav­iour.

A 2016 Mac­quarie Uni­ver­sity re­port found that 42% of owner-driv­ers said the rea­son driv­ers did not re­port safety breaches was be­cause they be­lieved they would be sacked, and felt pres­sure to stay quiet or risk los­ing their jobs.

The NSW Govern­ment can’t keep pre­tend­ing it doesn’t know about this.

Not only have they read the same re­ports we have, we also keep telling them about them.

Yet heads are still buried in the sand while peo­ple die on our roads.

To pro­tect ev­ery­one and stop truck driv­ers dy­ing on the job, we need strong pol­icy that ac­tu­ally reaches the cor­po­rate board­rooms where de­ci­sions are made.

As long as the NSW Govern­ment and oth­ers con­tinue to blame truck driv­ers and treat only the symp­toms while ig­nor­ing the cause, th­ese deaths will not stop.

PHOTO: LIANA TURNER

OP­ER­A­TION ROLLING THUN­DER: It’s said to be the largest op­er­a­tion of its kind.

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