Following the death of a truck driver from Coffs Harbour on the Logan Motorway, the Transport Workers Union has criticised the trucking company who employed the man. The crash went unnoticed for about 10 hours.
A passer-by discovered the crash site the following morning and questions have been raised as to why the company didn’t know something was wrong first.
Police believed the vehicle had rolled down the embankment on the Logan Motorway, south of Brisbane.
The 57 year old driver had been driving the prime-mover and loaded trailer from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane during his regular work route.
TWU Queensland branch secretary Peter Biagini expressed his surprise and concern that the trucking company failed to detect the problem sooner.
He mentioned the technology these companies usually have to track vehicles and record incidents,
“It is beyond belief that nobody could have known or raised an alarm about this truck.
“How is it that with all the GPS, radio contact and more that a truck can be missing for up to 11 hours without some sort of alarm bells ringing?
“It’s beyond belief – with GPS monitoring, telematics and more now being commonplace in trucks, not knowing where the truck is and indeed that it had been stationary for many hours is ridiculous.”
He said the crash highlighted the dangers of the transport industry and why it is one of the most dangerous industries for Australians. He reminded us that workers in the transport industry are 12 times more likely to die on the job than the average Australian worker.
Currently in Queensland heavy vehicle accidents are not considered workplace deaths, something the TWU believes needs to change.Mr Biagini and others are calling for all heavy vehicle accidents to be investigated as workplace accidents,
“Often a forensic crash investigation will work out what contributed to the crash, but are unable to investigate the circumstances leading up to the accident – are drivers fatigued, under pressure or rushing to finish a delivery?” he said.
“These questions won’t be answered until these accidents are seen as workplace incidents.
“If someone was injured or died in their office, or a work site, there would be a full investigation into exactly what lead to that accident, who was responsible and what changes need to be made.
“Right now truck crashes are seen as road accidents, with brief investigations and often ambiguous outcomes.
“For transport workers, their vehicle is their office – it is their workplace.”
Speaking on behalf of the company, Queensland Trucking Association Gary Mahon said they were fully cooperating with investigations. He said the truck was only 6 months old and the driver had only been in the truck for around 4 hours before the crash.
He went on to explain,
“There was another truck driver who drove the new truck from Newcastle to Coffs Harbour before a change over was made where the Coffs Harbour truck driver began his shift.
“He had a day off to rest before he left his hometown at 7.30pm on Tuesday night to Brisbane so it’s very puzzling to think what went wrong.”
When questioned about why the company had failed to alert anyone about the truck driver, he said the man had been driving a load of frozen chickens and was expected to arrive at 10am the next morning to off load the vehicle.
He also said the company was checking its systems to figure out where he was when he missed his in-time slot at 10am. He states that the company had technology and an electronic log book diary in the truck that could assist police investigations and internal inquiries being made within the company.