OPINION: Op Rolling Thunder ignores problem
IN NEW South Wales, the Police Assistant- Commissioner, Michael Corboy, has announced Operation Rolling Thunder, described as "Australia's largest ever heavy vehicle compliance operation".
It was headed up by the NSW Police in conjunction with the RMS and also supported by the Queensland, Victoria, ACT and South Australian Police Forces.
The Transport Workers' Union, like everyone else in our industry, supports any initiative that keeps truck drivers and other road users safe.
But just like every driver on the road, we know that this operation will not solve the problems.
Again, the true causes of truck-related deaths are being ignored in favour of band-aid solutions.
These solutions do not address the issue, and as usual, truck drivers are being punished for the conditions forced upon them while the employers responsible get away with it.
In NSW alone, deaths from truck-related accidents have risen by 86 per cent since the Federal Government abolished the road safety watchdog, but the NSW Government continues to sit on its hands when it comes to providing crucial, state-based policy.
Every day we have members telling us about the dangerous pressure they're forced to work under, and the data backs them up.
A 2015 Safe Work Australia report found that 20 per cent of transport employers break safety rules to meet deadlines, and 20 per cent accept dangerous behaviour.
A 2016 Macquarie University report found that 42% of owner-drivers said the reason drivers did not report safety breaches was because they believed they would be sacked, and felt pressure to stay quiet or risk losing their jobs.
The NSW Government can't keep pretending it doesn't know about this.
Not only have they read the same reports we have, we also keep telling them about them.
Yet heads are still buried in the sand while people die on our roads.
To protect everyone and stop truck drivers dying on the job, we need strong policy that actually reaches the corporate boardrooms where decisions are made.
As long as the NSW Government and others continue to blame truck drivers and treat only the symptoms while ignoring the cause, these deaths will not stop.