A tribute to someone lost on the road at Mapleton. There have been 14 road deaths in 10 days from crashes with trucks.
A tribute to someone lost on the road at Mapleton. There have been 14 road deaths in 10 days from crashes with trucks. Nicola Brander

TWU says fatal crashes highlight need for safe rates order

THREE children have been left without their parents after they were tragically killed in a horrific truck crash in Melbourne’s west this morning.

The TWU says this incident highlights a crisis in trucking and shows the need to ensure drivers are paid a safe, fair wage with well-maintained vehicles.

Today’s crash is just one in a string of crashes over the past couple of weeks.

The crash happened on Hopkins Rd at Truganina about 6am, initial reports suggesting two cars and two trucks were involved.

The TWU said today’s deaths brought the numbers of recent deaths due to crashes involving trucks to 14 in the past 10 days.

“My condolences go to the family and friends affected by this tragedy, which is yet to be fully investigated,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.

“We know that a deadly cycle is at play in transport with major retailers and manufacturers squeezing transport operators and drivers with low cost contracts to the point that our roads are not safe.”

This horror crash comes just a day after Ai Group and NatRoad made applications to delay the RSRT ruling, which the TWU says is aimed at saving lives.

"This ruling addresses deaths in truck crashes and will make the industry safe and sustainable,” Mr Sheldon said.

“It will ensure drivers are not under pressure to skip breaks, speed, drive long hours with overloaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state. It beggars belief that Ai Group and NatRoad would want to stand in the way of this ruling.”

Truck drivers and the TWU will visit Canberra next week to press the case for a focus on truck deaths.

The RSRT order for owner drivers sets down minimum safe rates for drivers, ensuring they are paid all their costs and for all the work they do.

The TWU says most importantly the Order holds major retailers to account for the pressure on transport operators and drivers though their low cost contracts.

This push for profits ultimately costs lives, they say.

What do you think? Have your say below.

Previous deaths in the last 10 days include:

  • NSW, March 9 2016: A man was killed following a head-on collision between his car and a truck on Anderson Drv at Beresfield.
  • WA, March 8 2016: A 64-year-old truck driver was killed when his prime mover hit a tree and caught fire on Albany Hwy in Tenterden.
  • NSW, March 8 2016: A man died after his car and a truck crashed on Tomago Rd in Williamtown.
  • NSW, March 7 2016: A man died following a head-on crash between his van and a truck on the Pacific Hwy at Cooperabung.
  • SA, March 5 2016: A 47-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, who were both truck drivers, were killed when their truck hit a guardrail and burst into flames on the Eyre Hwy near Port Augusta.
  • VIC, March 5 2016: A truck driver was killed when his truck hit a tree on the Western Fwy in Darley.
  • WA, March 5 2016: Two 25-year-old men died when their motorcycle crashed with a truck on McCombe Rd in Halifax.
  • VIC, March 3 2016: Two people, a female sedan driver and a male truck driver, died when their vehicles collided head-on on Latrobe Rd in Maryvale.
  • VIC, March 1 2016: A female truck driver died after being pinned under her truck that rolled at a worksite on the South Gippsland Hwy in Nyora.
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