A speeding truck is a dangerous prospect for all NSW road users, but it seems the industry has cleaned up its act in recent years thanks to a concerted effort from multiple agencies.
Heavy vehicle speeding has been a major blight on statistics, with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) cameras detecting 55,368 truck speeding offences in the year to March 2011. That equates to more than 150 tickets issued every day.
Freight logistics is an important part of the state economy with approximately 60 per cent of Australia's road freight passing through NSW. By 2020, the road freight task throughout Australia is anticipated to be twice the current level of activity.
As a result of continued noncompliance from certain sectors of the industry, RMS alongside NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command began Australia's toughest truck compliance regime ever.
A number of Heavy Vehicle Checking/Safety Stations, Safe-T-Cams and point-to-point cameras were installed as well as lowering the speed limit compliance level.
Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay explained that the results of the regime are not seen anywhere else in the country and NSW is once again leading the way in truck compliance.
"By March this year, despite increased enforcement and the installation of more than 20 new point to point cameras for detecting speeding trucks, the offences had dropped to 4,924 – a huge 91 per cent reduction," he said.
"Our intensive program of on-road compliance and enforcement operations has helped make such huge gains."
It is easy to see the difference between the statistics from a year ago and today. In June 2013, there were 21 fatal crashes involving a truck, compared to nine last month. Although there is still room for improvement, it illustrates both authorities and the trucking community are working extremely hard to reduce such incidents.
Inspections and Operations
Minister Gay highlighted that during the 12 months to April this year, more than 40,000 vehicles were also inspected by authorities. This was across 23 different operations spanning the length and breadth of the state.
"Heavy vehicle operators need to be aware our teams don't just wait at checking stations, they are out on the road every day of the week - 'rain, hail or shine' - making sure trucks are compliant," he explained.
"The intelligence gathering and targeted operations by our safety and compliance unit is also seeing more successful prosecutions in the courts."
Penalties for noncompliance
NSW authorities reminded truck operators that the Chain of Responsibility laws still apply which means anyone that should be preventing offences is liable to face sanctions.
Minister Gay explained this law puts the emphasis on all parties involved in the freight supply chain - from the driver to the executives - to prevent breaches of road transport law.
"As at February 2014, there have been 4,251 Chain of Responsibility charges against responsible parties – 262 in the past year alone," he said.
"NSW is working to change behaviour across the heavy vehicle industry by leading the way with our comprehensive inspection and enforcement regime."