Truck­ies suf­fer­ing in poor con­di­tions

Union pushes fixes

Gatton Star - - NEWS -

IN­CREAS­ING pres­sure on truck­ies, who face long hours and low wages, is hav­ing dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects on truck driv­ers ac­cord­ing to Trans­port Work­ers Union Queens­land branch sec­re­tary Peter Bi­agini.

Af­ter 55 years in the in­dus­try, for­mer truck driver Vic­tor Ja­cob­sen said the de­mands on truck driv­ers were tougher than ever.

Mr Ja­cob­sen said tighter reg­u­la­tions meant more truck­ies were do­ing the right thing, but con­di­tions for driv­ers had wors­ened in the past 15 years.

“I don’t reckon the money is as good as it used to be,” he said.

Mr Bi­agini, who grew up in a truck­ing fam­ily, said the de­mands from clients to lower prices was lead­ing to over­worked truck driv­ers.

“They are do­ing hours of two peo­ple just to make ends meet,” he said.

“Their lifestyle causes prob­lems in their per­sonal life, which is lead­ing to a lot of men­tal is­sues.

“We are see­ing that ev­ery day.”

Lone­li­ness, chronic fa­tigue and stress were some of the ev­ery­day strug­gles truck driv­ers faced, Mr Bi­agini said.

But he said there was hope for the in­dus­try.

“It can be fixed,” he said. “In the early days in the in­dus­try those long-dis­tance driv­ers we called them the pilots of the high­way they were such pro­fes­sion­als.”

While tech­nol­ogy may be keep­ing some truck driv­ers from get­ting vi­tal rest, it can also help truck driv­ers man­age fa­tigue.

Mr Bi­agini said there were sys­tems that would dis­able trucks from be­ing driven dur­ing the hours truck driv­ers were meant to be rest­ing.

Other in­no­va­tions in­cluded in­fra-red tech­nol­ogy that mon­i­tored fa­tigue by scan­ning the pupils of the eyes of truck driv­ers.

Fa­tigue laws that re­quire truck driv­ers to take rest breaks at des­ig­nated times could of­ten clash with truck driv­ers’ nat­u­ral waves of tired­ness, Mr Bi­agini said.

Un­der the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor, truck driv­ers are re­quired to take seven hours of con­tin­u­ous rest in a 24-hour pe­riod.

The also need to keep a log book of their driv­ing hours.

“But a lot of peo­ple say a clock can’t tell you when you’re tired and when you have to sleep,” Mr Bi­agini said.

Frasers Live­stock Trans­port di­rec­tor Ross Fraser said driv­ers had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to man­age their fa­tigue, and most did it well.

“I think most of the driv­ers are get­ting ad­e­quate rest in their stopovers,” Mr Fraser said.

He said most of the ac­cred­ited truck­ing com­pa­nies were highly reg­u­lated to en­sure driv­ers were meet­ing health and safety stan­dards.

— Mar­ian Faa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.