The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is warning drivers to be aware of spilled grapes on South Australian roads.
NHVR Manager Stakeholder Engagement, John Gilbert, said that it was critical that operators, vineyards, wineries and others involved in transporting grapes put in place robust safety systems to ensure a safe journey for everyone.
“We want to see these grapes made into great South Australian wine, not left to rot on our highways,” said Gilbert.
“So far in March we’ve seen around 10 major spills on state and local roads in the Riverland region. That’s following 30 major spills in February.
“We all know and hear of stories around shoppers slipping on grapes in shopping centres. The exact scenario is occurring on our roads with vehicles being unable to gain any traction on the road surface following a grape spill.
“These spills are very difficult to clean up and can make roads sticky and gluey, forming a significant safety issue for light vehicles and motorcycles in particular," he said.
The spills, according to Gilbert, are happening at night or early morning when they are more difficult to see, exacerbating the hazard. Good safety management systems, though, will prevent these issues.
“The NHVR works proactively with businesses to provide guidance around methods of managing the risk of grape spillage," said Gilbert.
“Businesses must take ownership of this serous safety risk to the community and actively introduce improvement to their practices particularly around load restraint of grapes," he said. “We’re always happy to chat to operators about these issues and support them to implement safer systems in their businesses.”