Road safety con job
Professional truck drivers are continually forced to make allowances for basically trained motorists while copping more than their fair share of authoritarian attention. writes
THE EAST COAST fatigue regulations … working or not? They probably are if one considers how much revenue is being raked in thanks to people like me stuffing up.
Last issue I spoke at some length regarding the lethargic efforts by the bureaucracy to provide oversize/ overmass permits in reasonable time.
My comments have been supported by several operators whose businesses involve such loading. But instead of taking the criticism on board, bureaucracy has instead deemed to have been insulted.
Sadly, with so much big business and big bureaucracy and such a low proportion of endeavour stemming from small private enterprise, understanding the efforts required to be successful in small business is likewise not sufficiently understood.
When I raised the issue with a farmer in north Queensland, he was ropeable at the required time lapse expected from bureaucracy to address oversize permits. In relation to caneharvesting equipment, which is selfpropelled, it is now being moved considerably longer distances under its own steam because the time delay for provision of permits is excessive and penalties for movement without permit are considerable.
Now we have a situation with machinery on limited registration being shifted across major highways – at a snail’s pace.
One issue with road transport law and operating requirements that gets up my nose is the pedantic requirements we truckies have to accommodate to fulfil legal requirements with bugger all effort by society to educate other users in the operating parameters of heavy vehicles.
I was somewhat perplexed just recently when on the site of a larger than usual cotton gin. The female staff member read me the induction riot act. “We have two operating gins on site,” she informs me, “so there’ll be two moon buggies working instead of the usual one.” The speed limit near the gin from memory was 20km/h per hour – pretty slow anyway.
I had just come off the highway doing class-one dangerous goods at speeds up to 100km/h, mostly sharing the road with very elementary-trained motorists. The truckie is the one expected to make allowances for the incompetence of other road users. This society’s attitude to road safety is such a farce. It is so much a big con job.
I have a response from the director general of Queensland’s Transport and Main Roads in relation to the ‘trucks keep left’ requirement on the M1. The correspondence ends by telling me I can write all I want about the issue from now on but my efforts will not be rewarded with any reply.
Okay, my issue is not so much that trucks are not to be in the right lane. My issue is a combination of two points at least. Firstly, if society was to take a mature attitude to driver discipline, there would be no trucks in the right lane anyway; that lane would be occupied by light vehicles travelling at the maximum speed allowed. Again, the current half-baked effort to free up travel on the M1 simply targets trucks.
When will someone in bureaucracy take a lesson from professional drivers instead of using half-baked assumptions to base their regulations? These bureaucrats are too stupid to consider advertising a benchmark speed in an effort to improve traffic flow and reduce the incidence of traffic friction-induced accidents.
Readers may remember in an article some issues past that I mentioned the demise of the B-double route that is Stanmore Road near Brisbane.
The recent high water caused considerable damage to the Alan Wilke Bridge which connects Stanmore Rd to Beaudesert-Beenleigh Rd. Alan passed away in the same week that his namesake bridge was reopened to traffic. That intersection is another bureaucratic balls up, and bureaucracy is determined to persist with the stupidity.
The signposting at the intersection requires that left-turning traffic into Stanmore Rd gives way to rightturning traffic. The issue is that while I am held at the intersection in my 45ft tautliner, I am obscuring the visibility of both through traffic coming from my rear, which is a fair curve to the left for such approaching traffic, and also hiding from the view of rightturning traffic the presence on through traffic approaching from my rear.
Just get rid of the give way signs directing left-turning traffic to give way. Revert to the ‘normal’ of ‘right waits for left’. Not too bloody difficult. Or is it that the concern is being raised by a dumb bloody truck driver?
Scenic Rim Council in south-east Queensland is obviously one public entity that has little respect for the small transport operator and the narrow profit margins historically available to such transport operations. The transport operator has a 20-hectare rural property adjacent to town. Ken Wilkie
The business has been storing four trucks on the block overnight and during weekends. The local council, in its greed for funds, has deemed the site to be a transport depot and ramped up the rates by 84 per cent. More public greed coupled with small to nil service provision.
It would seem that abusing our immigration regulations can, in fact, be very profitable. We are obviously the lucky country in the minds of those who have never had to relate their efforts to the amount banked at the end of the week.
Yes, there was personal risk involved but their arrival was in contravention to border regulations.
Those who have come through seem to have been rewarded more
“He didn’t fill out the wondrous book”
handsomely than our people who provide the essential task of driving road transport vehicles.
BIG FINES AND FEES
It was said to me recently that a fine should be proportionate to the breach committed. A Territorian operator who’d had 12 hours rest in Brisbane was breached for not filling out his logbook before delivering his prime mover just three kilometres to his employer’s depot for servicing – $640 thank you.
After his wife made representations on the driver’s behalf, they were told to not take any action until further notified. Notified?
The first notification after that advice was a directive to attend a court sitting in Brisbane. Now the fine will be at the court’s pleasure, plus the lost work and the cost of flying from and to Darwin. All that expense for driving a fatigueregulated vehicle just 3km without making a mark in the book. And the constant advice from bureaucracy is to enlist the services of a learned friend under such circumstances.
The aim apparently is to reduce the cost of the fine. One cannot argue that the breach was not committed. He didn’t fill out the wondrous book. The immoral bit is the requirement that under such circumstances it be filled out in the first place.
The learned friend can only argue for leniency. Of course learned friend will charge … how much? The fine in this case is definitely not in proportion to the offence.
I am told that one operator who has decided to fight the accusation against him in court is being confronted with a private learned friend’s fee of $330 per hour – from the minute the learned friend leaves his office in a major city to the court session in a provincial city and return to the major city roost.
One has to be amazed at the lengths taken to trace the Darwin operator. His current address was on the ticket but they found his previous address and sent the summons there. Lucky the new tenant had the real address and was able to make contact.
And what is this I hear about court staff being allowed to adjust court transcripts? Now that’s frightening. But it is in the same vein as enforcement staff adjusting incorrectly filled-out breach documents.
It is not an option made available to truck drivers beyond the generosity of some on-road enforcement officers.