OPERATION SHIELD: 98.85% of truckies pass fatigue blitz

TRUCKIES have proven their commitment to safety with a 98.85 percent fatigue compliance rate in NSW's second heavy vehicle blitz this year.    

Operation Shield NSW Roads and Maritime Service's latest attempt to detect rogue operators reported an overwhelming proportion of those stopped were found to be compliant.   

During the week long operation Roads and Maritime Services inspected 10,302 heavy vehicle units and detected 119 fatigue law breaches in NSW.  

Showing just 1.15% of all drivers checked were found to have flouted the restrictive fatigue laws.   

Roads and Maritime Director of Compliance Roger Weeks said 86 per cent of those stopped were fully compliant with 926 defect and 257 infringement notices issued.   

"The number of fatigue law breaches as well as the defects detected and other infringements issued means there is still more work to be done to tackle the rogue operators who give the industry a bad name," Mr Weeks said.  

"Operation Shield has again shown that the majority of people in the trucking industry do the right thing, with 86 per cent of vehicles and drivers fully compliant.  

"However, the serious nature of problems found in the remaining 14 per cent shows that more needs to be done to drive improved compliance outcomes for the industry.  

"In the worst of the fatigue related breaches, six drivers were 'grounded' and directed to take rest breaks of either seven or 24 hours because they represented a critical risk on the road.  

"At Hay, in south west NSW, a driver was found to have only had a four hour break in a 24 hour work period while another driver had not had a day off in over a week.  

"While in northern NSW, a driver tried to lie to inspectors, claiming he was resting at the Puma service station in Kempsey but a Safe-T-Cam detected his vehicle 91 kilometres away.   "Additionally, inspectors discovered eight speed limiters that failed our tests, with the worst allowing the truck to travel up to 123 kilometres per hour.  

"In another instance, a truck in Western Sydney was found to be towing a load that was 850kg over the vehicle's prescribed limit in addition to having no brakes on the trailer, which is an absolute disgrace.  

"All of these examples are a serious incident waiting to happen, which is why we will continue to work with the NSW Police to weed out those who are either unwilling or unable to do the right thing.  

"Safety will always be our highest priority and we will continue to work with industry to ensure compliance levels can be lifted and systemic safety failures are stamped out.  

The NHVR and transport agencies from other states conducted similar operations in addition to NSW.