NEW SOUTH WALES police and road safety authorities have raided two Victorian trucking companies suspected of using speed limiter over-ride devices.
The NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command (THP) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) formed Operation Discovery to investigate the two Victorian-based companies after their trucks were caught speeding earlier this month.
On Tuesday 27 March, RMS investigators and THP officers raided the Sydney base of one trucking company at Chipping Norton and the headquarters of the two unrelated companies in Werribee and Shepparton.
The raids in Werribee and Shepparton have been assisted by Victorian Police.
On the morning of Friday March 23, a B-double truck from the Shepparton-based company was detected travelling at 130kph along the Hume Highway near Albury while laden with 65 tonnes of beer.
Meantime, three of the other company's trucks were caught speeding in separate incidents on the Hume Highway at Mittagong, on the M7 Motorway in western Sydney and on the Newell Highway at Coonabarabran.
In each case, the speed limiter of the trucks involved had been tampered with to allow them to exceed the legal 100kph limit.
In addition to the raids, New South Wales Highway Patrol officers and their colleagues in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland are in the process of tracking down a combined total of 80 trucks owned by both companies.
The trucks will be escorted to RMS heavy vehicle checking stations and inspected for mechanical and log book safety breaches.
Police and RMS investigators have been deployed to sites across NSW, including Marulan, Mt White and Dubbo.
Operations Commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Stuart Smith said police have now raided four truck companies since last month.
"A lawful trucking transport industry is vital to the productivity of our state and honest operators have nothing to fear regarding the joint RMS and THP heavy vehicle task force," Superintendent Smith said.
"However, by now it should be crystal clear to the 'cowboy' element within the trucking industry that we are not going away.
"Truck operators who continue to flout safety regulations are placing the lives of other road users at serious risk.
"It has become obvious that safety breaches are more widespread than initially suspected and RMS and THP officers have made a commitment to track down and prosecute all rogue operators."
"Trucks are critical to the economy and an efficient and safe heavy vehicle industry is important to all of us," said RMS Director Customer and Compliance Peter Wells.
"Let's be clear, the vast majority of the trucking industry is honest and hardworking and are the first to object to the behaviour of a few rogues.
"The message to the industry is - for whatever reason, if you have modified your speed limiter system to allow the truck to travel faster than 100km/h, you need to immediately return it to being legally compliant."
Mr Wells is clear about the consequences for any owner or driver whose heavy vehicle is found to have illegally tampered with a speed limiter.
"It will instantly put you and your vehicle under the spotlight. We will examine your vehicle very closely and carefully look for evidence of any other modifications or defects. There is no legal reason to have modified a speed limiter," Mr Wells said.
"NSW road transport laws include chain of responsibility provisions which require all parties in the supply chain to take steps to stop breaches of mass, loading, dimension, driver fatigue and speeding laws.
"It also raises a question for the other parties in the chain of responsibility such as abattoirs, supermarkets, fresh food markets and building supplies, what steps have you taken to ensure the trucks coming to and from your loading docks are not speeding?
"If a person in the chain does not take reasonable steps to stop breaches of these laws, they can be found guilty of an offence, not just the driver.
"To these law-breakers who are deliberately putting lives at risk, the message is clear - RMS and NSW Police are working together - you will be caught and face serious criminal charges."