Rogue truckies busted in blitz

A HEAVY vehicle highway operation this week has found nearly 200 instances of defects, infringements and breaches on trucks stopped near Willow Tree and Moree.

Police have reported that rogue trucks clocked up 454 defects, 240 infringements and 30 breaches of 1231 trucks inspected on the Pacific, New England and Newell highways earlier during the special compliance testing operation.

The NSW Police Force’s Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) reported the findings of Operation North Canuck yesterday.

The operation, the latest heavy vehicle compliance enforcement to be undertaken by the  NSW Police Force and RMS’ Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce, began at 6pm last Sunday and concluded at 10pm Tuesday. 

Officers and inspectors were based at a number of locations in the state’s north, including at Coffs Harbour and Grafton, and near Willow Tree and Moree.

Over the course of the operation, which targeted speed limiter tampering, drink- and drug-driving, driver fatigue, vehicle standards and load restraints, 1231 trucks were inspected.

The electronic control modules  of 304 trucks were downloaded, leading police to discover the speed limiters in 32 trucks – one in 10 of those checked – had been illegally tampered with. 

The 32 vehicles have been grounded for further inspection.

Operations Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol, Superintendent Stuart Smith, said tampering with a truck’s speed limiter allows the vehicle to travel at higher speeds than the 100km/h limit.

“In one case, we discovered a truck with an illegal setting, allowing the vehicle to travel at speeds of up to 150km/h,” Superintendent Smith said.

“Quite simply, a truck travelling at 150km/h is an absolute recipe for disaster.

“The state-wide speed limit for trucks on all NSW roads is 100km/h. Any truck with a doctored speed limiter, enabling the vehicle to travel in excess of 100km/h, is a very real threat to the lives of other road users.”

At the Kankool station, the truck stop on the New England Highway near Willow Tree, 80km south of Tamworth, 104 heavy trucks were stopped and their drivers breath-tested. 

A total of 39 trucks were found to be defective, another 12 received traffic infringements and six had breaches, including unsecured loads or insufficient work diaries.

A number of trucks were found to have had speed limit tampering, with one truck set up to enable speeds of up to 114km/h and another up to 110km/h.

At Moree, there were 455 trucks stopped and 444 drivers breath-tested. There were 429 drug tests.

Police said 58 defect notices were issued and 67 traffic offences recorded.

There were 10 breaches recorded for things like log books and unsecured loads. One truck was found to have speed limit tampering enabling it to achieve speeds of up to 130km/h.

Superintendent Smith added that despite seeing a marked reduction in the number of speeding trucks on NSW roads over the past two years, there was still a rogue element within the industry putting deadlines and profits ahead of people’s safety.

“Over the last two years, police and RMS have worked hard to remove speeding trucks from our roads,” Superintendent Smith said.

“We have seen some excellent results to date, and there was a marked reduction in the number of trucks detected speeding in 2012 when compared to 2011.

“However, the results of Operation North Canuck clearly demonstrate that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“We have seen the shocking devastation one speeding truck can cause and want to assure the people of NSW that we will continue to work with RMS inspectors to get dangerous trucks and truck drivers off our roads.”

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