Drivers run out of hours
SUNSHINE Coast truckie Trevor Warner says regulations forced upon truck drivers are unsafe and unnecessary.
"Anyone who doesn't do depot to depot like the big boys can't legally do the hours," he told Big Rigs recently.
Warner (pictured) has 20 years experience in the industry and has been "pretty vocal" to politicians about how hard it has become to be a truck driver.
He runs fresh produce south to Melbourne, but because of where he lives he cannot drive home after the end of his shift. "Once my hours are up I'm locked down," he said.
Warner said he often had to try to sleep during the day in Brisbane.
"I run out of hours at Morayfield, half an hour from home. What do you do? You drive home.
"The RTA's truck stats compared with 2010 ABS figures on external causes of death show truck drivers were twice as likely to die from food poisoning at the roadhouse than in a heavy vehicle accident."
Warner said many drivers who had done the job safely for 20 years or more were now being told by politicians they were unsafe.
"If a truck is not being used for a commercial purpose you should be allowed to drive it home. If the load terminates in Brisbane I don't get paid to drive home."
Now a member of the Long Haul Drivers Association, Warner said he agreed a 12-hour work day with six hours rest would work as long as companies could be made to do the right thing.
He said truck companies could not be investigated without truckies getting into trouble first. As soon as a driver "fell on his sword" and admitted he was pushed to do something illegal he was investigated before the company.
"It's just ridiculous," he said.
The hardest part of the job was balancing time frame demands with actual driving times, especially when there were loading delays.
Warner agreed safe rates would work on the surface.
"It might force freight companies to pay more money," he said.
He also claimed big business had used the science of fatigue to push for laws that placed unreasonable burdens on small operators.