Prime Mover Magazine

Victorian Government to crackdown on heavy vehicle operators

A crack down in Victoria has been launched on heavy vehicle operators who fail to comply with road safety regulations and National Heavy Vehicle Laws.

The State Government is embarking on a blitz to ensure heavy vehicles are road worthy and random targeted checks across Victoria would focus on tyre, windscreen, oil leaks, seatbelts, brakes, suspension and coupling defects.

Under the heavy vehicle operations Transport Safety Services (TSS) Officers will also enforce truck curfews in areas including Melbourne’s inner west, which are designed to limit the number of heavy vehicles in busy residential areas.

While the vast majority of drivers and operators do the right thing, overweight trucks, unsecured loads, speed and log book offences still pose a serious risk to truck drivers and other road users.

TSS Officers have carried out more than 20 operations across Victoria so far this year, targeting known heavy vehicle crash locations, in order to reduce the occurrence of fatalities and serious injuries.

The TSS team also conducts site visits targeting companies with previous non-compliance issues, working with operators to address issues and reduce reoffending.

There have already been 34 fatalities involving heavy vehicles this year – compared to 27 fatalities in 2018 according to the State Government.

While truck and bus operators are responsible for driving safely and ensuring their vehicles comply with the laws many of the crashes involving heavy vehicles are caused by other motorists.

A recent study from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) found many motorists don’t leave enough room around trucks and aren’t aware that heavy vehicles have large blind spots.

Car drivers are urged to allow enough space when passing and merging in front of trucks in traffic as well being aware that heavy vehicles have large blind spots and require more room to stop safely.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said Victoria has a strong record on heavy vehicle compliance.

"These random compliance operations are designed to ensure heavy vehicle operators conduct all the necessary checks and that drivers do the right thing,” she said.

“I’m focused on ensuring we can keep freight moving efficiently across Victoria and these compliance operations are an important part of ensuring the safe movement of freight from agriculture to other important goods.”

VTA CEO, Peter Anderson said the checks will serve to remind operators of the curfews that need to be adhered to in certain areas.

"Notwithstanding the safety risks to heavy vehicle drivers and other motorists, there are significant penalties for roadworthiness breaches, so we encourage you to take time to ensure your fleets are compliant, and that drivers observe curfew requirements in the inner west and elsewhere," he said.

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