Trip shows road issues
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.