THE QUEENSLAND Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon has slammed the use of demerit point penalties to enforce the M1 Commonwealth Games Congestion plan, calling the move "unreasonable".
Following the announcement made by the State Government yesterday, which will limit trucks to the two left lanes on the M1 in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, the office of the Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey confirmed penalties will apply.These include a fine of $121 and three demerit points for heavy vehicles who pass a 'no trucks' sign on the M1. However Mr Mahon said the question of penalties for drivers found in the wrong lane had not been raised previously. "It is not reasonable someone could lose their licence for being in the right hand lane of a multi lane highway," Mr Mahon said.
"We were never of the understanding that the particular rule, which usually applies to bus lanes was going to be enforced that way.
"The briefs were couched in terms of a cooperative measure, applying that penalty as part of the trial was not raised with the industry at all.
"In my view demerit points are associated with safety, this plan is a congestion management issue; while it does have some safety outcomes in terms of what the research shows, that also comes down to the behaviour of car drivers," he said.
Mr Mahon said the QTA has been agreeable with the congestion changes through a cooperative approach.
"We are looking to support the measures the State Government has taken, but they shouldn't be used as a revenue raising venture," he said.
"If there needs to be a fine fair enough, but to take points as well is entirely unreasonable.
"If signs are being erected now no fines should be introduced until there has been a reasonable introduction - you need to give people a chance," he said.
Urging caution for all those getting accustomed to the trial, Mr Mahon said outside of concerns around demerit point penalties the studies show the trial may have some good outcomes for the industry.
"Certainly as far as our members were concerned we have had a pretty good response to the changes, and we ensured temporary speed reduction would not be undertaken with covert enforcement," Mr Mahon said.
"The industry will be assisted if motorists do stay clear of the left and middle lanes, designated for trucks.
"In theory we shouldn't have heavy vehicles in the right lane in some stretches anyway as they are 110 zones," Mr Mahon said.
"It isn't just about trucks through, its about the attitude of drivers, maneuvering a truck is just a small part of the issue.
"The safety record in trucking industry has been improving year on year and we would not expect to be singled out.
"In the past the vast majority of incidents on the M1 have been the smaller classes of vehicle," he said.
From 1 August 2017, trucks over 4.5 tonnes will be restricted to the left two lanes on the M1, between the M1/M3 merge at Eight Mile Plains and Robina.
It is expected this initiative will continue after the Games.