Trip shows road is­sues

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

The WA Road Safety Com­mis­sioner was given in­sight into road con­di­tions in the re­mote Pil­bara this month cour­tesy of the Pil­bara Heavy Haulage Girls.

The all-fe­male truck­ing com­pany’s founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Heather Jones in­vited Com­mis­sioner Kim Pa­palia on a day trip from Kar­ratha to Onslow’s Wheat­stone Project to gain a bet­ter view of road safety chal­lenges in re­gional WA.

Su­per­vised by Ms Jones, Mr Pa­palia, who has a truck li­cence, took the wheel for the 12-hour trip there and back in his first time driv­ing a triple.

Ms Jones said she had sug­gested the idea to the com­mis­sioner dur­ing his visit to the Pil­bara in Novem­ber.

“I’ve been work­ing with Gov­ern­ment and de­ci­sion mak­ers since 2000, and I find that the only way to lobby well is for them to walk a mile in your shoes,” she said.

“You can­not sit in an of­fice and un­der­stand the huge is­sues with road safety.”

“It was the first time he had driven a triple, but he re­alised there were huge is­sues to be taken on.”

Livestock on the road, flood­wa­ters, and a motorist stranded with­out phone re­cep­tion were just some of the typ­i­cal Pil­bara road sit­u­a­tions the pair came across on the trip.

Mr Pa­palia said he was grate­ful for the in­sight into heavy ve­hi­cles and re­gional road is­sues that “many oth­ers would not have”.

“We’ve seen haz­ards such as flood­ing from heavy rain­fall and stray cat­tle cross­ing the roads, as well as peo­ple bro­ken down in very iso­lated lo­ca­tions,” he said. “All of these oc­cur­rences are just part of the daily life of truck driv­ers in the North West and we don’t ex­pe­ri­ence that in any other part of the world.”

Mr Pa­palia said he would use his in­sight from the trip to make the RSC’s re­gional road de­signs safer, es­pe­cially when it came to rest stops and road qual­ity.

Ms Jones said bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion for the driv­ers of trucks and other ve­hi­cles was ur­gently needed to make re­gional roads safer for all.

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