DANGER MONEY: Steven Corcoran is waging a month-long campaign.
DANGER MONEY: Steven Corcoran is waging a month-long campaign.

Facebook warfare

WHEN former Queensland truck driver Steven Corcoran started his campaign for danger money for truckies he never could have imagined the kind of debate it would start.

But what ensued in the few weeks after he started handing out petitions was an ugly social network war that has seen both people for and against danger money slinging nasty comments back and forth.

Mr Corcoran's Facebook page, Truckies Danger Money, instigated another that seemed at one point to be nothing but a hate page.

While the creators of the page Truckies Danger Money Have Your Say said their's was designed to allow people to have their say for and against the idea, as they alleged any comments against danger money were hidden from the Truckies Danger Money Facebook wall, the page gave rise to derogatory comments about Mr Corcoran and his family.

Big Rigs spoke to Mr Corcoran while he was on his way to Alice Springs last week and asked him to settle the debate on his figure regarding how dangerous truck driving is.

He had been quoted as saying truck drivers were 30 times more likely to die than other professions, but according to many comments made personally to Big Rigs and online, could not show where that figure came from.

Mr Corcoran said he personally worked out the figure by comparing death rates of professions.

The Transport Workers Union, on the other hand says the figure is more like 10 times more likely - still a high number.

TWU assistant national secretary Michael Kaine said while their research indicated truck drivers were 10 times likelier to die than those in other industries like construction, truck drivers made up only "a tad under 2%" of drivers on the roads, yet accounted for about 24% of road fatalities.

"It's a massive misrepresentation," he said.

Mr Corcoran will finish his month of campaigning for danger money on August 31.

He said he had travelled to hundreds of road houses and handed out more than 5000 petitions.

Though he is not worried about "400 people on Facebook" who are against him, he said his family was upset by the mud-slinging on Facebook and over the phone.

"I have had a few doubts, when it seems so many people are against it," he admitted.

He said he was doing it "out of the goodness of his heart" and if the campaign only brought awareness to the plight of truck drivers, then it was all worthwhile.

Mr Kaine agreed that truck drivers were under pressure.

He said someone going to the extremes of advocating for danger money was the most "potent" way of demonstrating the pressures that drivers were under, apart from people dying.

"What's that say about the industry?," he said.

"I disagree with the solution. It might well be that drivers need to be paid more. They definitely have to be paid for all the work they do."

Danger money, he said just was another way of saying a better, safer rate was needed.

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