Kirstin

Industry slams 'short term thinking' behind police blitz

A NATIONAL trucking industry group has slammed the launch of Australia's largest ever police operation on heavy vehicles, labeling the move as flawed.   

CEO of NatRoad Warren Clark, has questioned the thinking and connotations behind police blitz Operation Rolling Thunder that was announced this morning. 

While the industry group says they understand why the police seek to address road safety, they are concerned truckies are being painted as the enemy.    

"The road toll is not going to be reduced in a context of blaming the truck industry in isolation for the regrettable deaths that occur on Australia's roads," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said. 

CRACKDOWN ON TRUCKIES: AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST EVER OPERATION

"In fact, the statistics show that in collisions involving fatalities the truck was not at fault on 93% of occasions," he said. 

  "The statistics also show that in an analysis of truck crash incidents mechanical failures were inconsequential with a 3.5% incident level.  In that context, tyre failure accounted for 52% of losses attributed to a mechanical fault. 

The national body also contends the use of the name "Operation Rolling Thunder" is another example of the negative connotations that have been pushed to the media. 

"The use of the name "Operation Rolling Thunder", for example, has been repurposed from the massive bombing attack on North Vietnam undertaken by the Johnson administration during the Vietnam War," the NatRoad statement read.

"This name is inappropriate for enforcement operations in the 21st century and is highly offensive to the Australian Trucking Industry. The metaphors of history should not be forgotten. 

The Industry group says it will offer its co-operation to the police but believes "short-term solutions based on blaming the industry" are not going to assist a long-term problem.

Instead the body insists enhanced drug and alcohol testing of light vehicles should go hand-in-hand with increased enforcement of heavy vehicle industry. 

"It is the behaviour of other drivers around heavy vehicles that requires attention, a matter that is best solved through education especially at the stage of getting a licence to drive," Mr Clark said.  

"NatRoad is very concerned about the recent spike in serious truck accidents in NSW," Mr Clark said. 

"We have not seen this spike in other States, which are subject to the same heavy vehicle safety standards and fatigue management rules, so we must find out whether the problem is unique to NSW. Objective and concerted investigation of the recent incidents is essential.   

NatRoad along with the Australian Trucking Association has called for a dedicated authority such as the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to promptly and fully investigate serious truck accidents and to share the results and recommendations publicly. 

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