THE NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) have concluded the second phase of Operation Steel, bringing the total number of trucks inspected to 611.
Operation Steel, a two part operation, was the first joint NSW Police Force and RMS operation to target inadequately restrained loads on trucks.
The first phase of the Operation took place on Tuesday August 28, while the second phase took place on Tuesday September 11.
Throughout the operation, Police and RMS Inspectors worked together to address a range of issues affecting the industry, namely load restraint, vehicle standards and speed.
Trucks were inspected at a number of locations throughout greater Sydney, including Botany Bay, Wetherill Park, Picton and the M5 at Kingsgrove.
The combined results of both phases of Operation Steel include:
- 611 vehicles inspected
- Over 350 infringement and defect notices issued for a range of offences, including significant brake and system failures
- 23 trucks allegedly found to be using non-compliant speed limiters, including one truck which had modifications to its speed limiter that allowed it to reach speeds over 140km/h, 11 September11
- A 34-year-old truck driver from Illawong was charged after an amount of the drug 'Ice' was found following a vehicle search, 28 August 28
- A fleet of 12 trucks grounded after one of the vehicles was found to be carrying a large steel cable which had been not been secured, 28 August 28
- One vehicle grounded for 15 separate defects, August 28
The operation was launched following investigations into two recent crashes where load-shift within trucks was allegedly a contributing factor.
The first incident occurred about 10.45am on Thursday June 28, when a semi-trailer carrying a shipping container - laden with tonnes of wood - rolled over at the intersection of the Cumberland and Hume Highways.
A Toyota Camry being driven south along the Cumberland Hwy was crushed beneath the overturned truck.
The driver of the Camry, 33-year-old Manoj Masih from Ingleburn, died at the scene. The truck driver, a 45-year-old man from Chester Hill, was not injured during the collision.
The second incident occurred on Tuesday July 10, when a b-double truck carrying freight containers was involved in a crash on the Tom Ugly's Bridge (Princes Hwy) at Sylvania.
The freight containers fell off the truck's trailers, leading to significant vehicle damage and traffic disruptions.
Operations Commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Superintendent Stuart Smith, said police would continue to work closely with the RMS to enforce regulation and compliance throughout the heavy vehicle industry.
"We will continue to work closely with the RMS in a bid to improve the safety standards of trucks on NSW roads," Superintendent Smith said.
Compliance within the industry appears to be improving; however, the results of Operation Steel demonstrate that there are still too many non-compliant trucks out on the state's roads.
Two of the container trucks stopped and inspected by RMS investigators and police were found with unsecure loads. One was carrying a load of unrestrained heavy steel rolls, while the other container had tonnes of steel ingots restrained only with fencing wire (August 28). In each of these cases the vehicles were grounded.
RMS inspectors have again found trucks leaving Port Botany with unrestrained loads. In one instance a container truck had its load secured by just one locking pin, instead of the four required.
"We had hoped we wouldn't find this kind of disregard for safety again just two weeks after our last joint operation. It's very disappointing that some operators and parties in the Chain of Responsibility continue to ignore basic but essential safety procedures," Paul Endycott, RMS' General Manger of Compliance and Enforcement said.
This industry needs to address its culture of non compliance and weed out those who take unacceptable risks with the safety of all road users.
"I am also disappointed with the condition of many of the vehicles that were intercepted and the number of safety related infringements. We will continue to work with the NSW Police to stamp out this dangerous behaviour."