A fertiliser truck that crashed into a building at Singleton is a wake-up call for drivers to secure their vehicles at all times, according to the Australian Trucking Association.
Chief executive Ben Maguire said the need to be extra vigilant was, unfortunately, the new norm in the industry.
He said there had been an increase in truck theft since 2014, with about 1200 trucks stolen each year from a national fleet of 500,000.
“News reports that the truck was [allegedly] stolen from a service station at Murrurundi are a shock and have hit home amongst the Australian trucking community,” Mr Maguire said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver, those injured and the Singleton community.
“An incident resulting from an unsecure truck … can have a devastating impact.
“Trucks and other commercial vehicles are easy to access, and this is a warning to all drivers and operators that trucks and loads must be secured at all times.”
Mr Maguire said keeping trucks secure was “absolutely essential … no matter where you are, how small the rest stop or how safe you feel”.
“Sadly, this has become our new norm.”
Mr Maguire said truck security could be simple and didn’t require a complex regime.
“We need to talk to our mates and make security a normal part of our routines,” he said.
“Be aware of your surroundings, lock your truck at all times and keep your keys safe.
“Know where your vehicle is and who has access.
“If you’re hiring drivers, always do a check for the right licence and other genuine documents.”
Mr Maguire said truckies should also check their loads after they’ve been away from their vehicle.
“Always make sure your load is secure, particularly if it’s something of value, like fuel.”
Mr Maguire said all truckies should have a security plan so drivers knew what to do if something happened.
“It may be as simple as checking in regularly as part of your fatigue management plan, to make sure people know where you are and what you’re doing,” he said.
“And if you don’t already, then consider using a reporting system during or on completion of a job to make sure people know you’re safe and the location of your vehicle.”