The Transport Workers’ Union of NSW commend this operation, led by NSW Police and announced this morning by Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy.
We, like everyone else in our industry, support any initiative that keeps drivers and road users safe. However, in the absence of wide-ranging policy, it will not solve the problem.
Deaths from truck-related accidents in NSW have risen by 86% since the Federal Government abolished the road safety watchdog, but the NSW Government continues to sit on its hands when it comes to implementing crucial, state-based policy. Once again, the true causes of truck-related deaths are being ignored in favour of band-aid solutions that simply do not address the issue.
With Operation Rolling Thunder, drivers are again being made to face the consequences of conditions forced upon them, while the employers responsible get away with it.
A 2015 Safe Work Australia report found that 20% of transport employers break safety rules to meet deadlines, and 20% accept dangerous behaviour.
A 2016 Macquarie University report found that 42% of owner-drivers said the reason drivers do not report safety breaches is because they believe they will be sacked, and feel pressure to stay quiet or risk losing their jobs.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen says,
“Truck maintenance is essential to the safety of drivers and other road users, but pressure from clients on operators and drivers is creating a situation where truck maintenance is majorly delayed. Issues like late payment and unreasonable deadlines force maintenance lower and lower down the list. Truck drivers work under immense pressure with no option but to keep moving, while those forcing them to do this suffer no consequences.”
“The NSW Government knows this. They have read the same reports we have, yet heads are still buried in the sand while people die on our roads.”
“To protect truck drivers and all road users, we need strong policy that actually reaches the corporate boardrooms where decisions are made. As long as the NSW Government continues to treat only the symptoms while ignoring the cause, truck-related deaths on our roads will continue.”