TRUCKS are the focus of the highway patrol's latest road policing operation.
While heavy vehicle crashes are not typically highly represented in road trauma across this region, a crash involving a b-double and tow truck occurred on the Western Highway at Warrenheip on Monday, while two crashes involving livestock trucks occurred within a week earlier in the year.
On January 28 a truck carrying sheep crashed at Coimadai. Two people were seriously injured and dozens of sheep killed.
The following week, on February 7, a b-double truck carrying thousands of chickens rolled on the Avenue of Honour near Cardigan. The driver sustained minor injuries and thousands of chickens were killed.
Road policing adviser for the region, Acting Senior Sergeant Stuart Gale, feared the two heavy vehicle crashes at the beginning of the year were the start of a trend. Fortunately this has not been the case, though they were the motivation for this recent operation.
"While we don't have a specific concern about livestock trucks at the moment, coming into the winter months it is a good opportunity for us to look at the heavy vehicle industry," he said.
Earlier this week Ballarat Highway Patrol and Vic Roads worked together on a single-day operation regarding compliance with the laws set out in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulations.
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These regulations apply to all heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 4.5 tonnes and cover a range of safety areas from fatigue to public road access to vehicle standards and accreditation.
Stationed on the Western Highway at Bungaree, police and safety and compliance officers focused on fatigue management, compliance with weight and loading and drug and alcohol affected driving. As a result, nine offences were detected including one drug driver.
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator spokesperson Andrew Berkman said Australia's reliance on heavy vehicle freight continued to rapidly expand - especially with increasing online deliveries due to coronavirus - which highlighted the importance of a safe and productive heavy vehicle industry.
Last week the National Transport Insurance's 2020 Major Accident Investigation report was released, revealing truck driver fatalities on Australian roads had more than doubled in 2019.
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Fatigue was linked to 34 per cent of these deaths, while distraction was another major cause of single heavy vehicle accidents.
Acting Senior Sergeant Gale said police would continue to focus on compliance with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulations, with more operations set to be undertaken in the next few weeks across the region.
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