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Fatigue and Safety - Talking Turkey About Trucking

The hunt is on for good news. Even when the news is good, it’s bad. The trucking industry doesn’t stand a chance. Even if we do something right and get a result, someone else takes the credit. We just can’t win.


I was interested to read Andrew Higginson’s thoughts on this subject recently. He talks about a ‘Kick a truckie’ attitude in the media and government, demonstrated by the recent publicity around the Austrans operation and coverage talking about transporting drugs in trucks.


One of the issues which galled him the most was the publicity generated around good news about trucking. Excessive speeding truck incidents in NSW had dropped by 91 per cent and the annual deaths from accidents involving trucks has decreased by over 30 per cent in the last ten years. We should expect the take-away for the general public from this would be positive. We were wrong!


In fact, according to the media reports, these falls were due to NSW having the toughest truck compliance regime in Australia. Don’t let me get this wrong but hasn’t NSW ALWAYS had the toughest truck compliance regime in Australia? It didn’t just start a few years ago.


This ongoing misrepresentation goes to the heart of the problem for the trucking industry. This unrelenting negative bias against the vast majority who are responsible, honest and safe means it is always a vote winner for the politician who talks about cracking down on this rogue industry.


We have the recent example of the Mona Vale incident for Cootes last year It was amazing how a Minister who has been supportive of trucking came out with extremely harsh language and actions against the whole industry, not just Cootes. There was no balance in the coverage of the event, just demonisation of a significant industry sector and a plague on all of our houses.


“I apologise for thinking the majority of the industry who go about their business day in day out trying to do the right thing in delivering the goods for all Australians have played an important role in improving safety outcomes,” said Andrew, in his Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association Newsletter. “Or that these are the people who have been campaigning and encouraging governments and enforcement authorities to target the minority doing the wrong thing, not to focus on those trying to do the right thing.”


Apology accepted, Andrew!

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