A TRUCK driver who worked for the Bundaberg arm of one of Australia's biggest transport companies claimed he was sacked when he refused to work for longer than he was supposed to.
Coonarr man Tyrone Trigg said B-double drivers were routinely made to work 16- to 18-hour days, much more than the 12 hours drivers are supposed to work before taking a break.
Mr Trigg said he was aware of three accidents on the east coast in the past three weeks that were believed to have been caused by truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
He said he had worked on a casual basis for Lindsay Transport for about three months, mostly driving B-doubles to the produce markets in Brisbane.
"If they leave Bundaberg they have to drive to the markets in Brisbane," he said.
"Then they have to sign their logbooks to say they have stopped working."
But Mr Trigg said the drivers were still expected to drive to another depot then drive back to Bundaberg, unload their trucks and then drive them to the depot.
Mr Trigg said on May 12 he drove a B-double to Brisbane, filled in his log book and then refused to drive any further.
A company official from Coffs Harbour phoned him when he heard about his actions and asked him what was going on.
"When I told him I wouldn't drive more than 12 hours, he said everybody did it," he said.
Mr Trigg claims he still refused and was promptly sacked.
"He told me I had to find my own way back to Bundaberg and I was not to touch any of their trucks," he said.
Mr Trigg said he was trying to get into the police service and did not want to get into trouble by driving more than was legal.
He said the practice of falsifying logbooks was widespread.
"Christmas time is a busy time of year and they make you do 18-20 hours on 12-hour logbooks," Mr Trigg said.
He claimed transport companies would often target drivers who really needed the money.
The NewsMail approached the Lindsay Transport head office for comment, and sent an email with questions for the company to respond to.
However, late yesterday a Lindsay spokeswoman said the company would not comment on Mr Trigg's allegations.