SARTA, The South Australian Road Transport Association has called for a rethink of the speed limit in the Port Augusta region after footage emerged of a truck overtaking a road train in a 90km/h zone, forcing an oncoming car to drive in the shoulder of the road to avoid crashing head-on into the truck.
The truck driver has apparently been stood down, according to the trucking company but the video posted on Facebook by the driver of the car has prompted SARTA to call for an investigation.
The video has been viewed over 80 000 times since it was posted and SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer says the footage highlights a deeper issue within in the Port Augusta region.
“Between Adelaide and Port Augusta, road trains are limited to 90km/h, so B-doubles, semis, truck and dogs, they’re all doing 100km/h and they’re catching up and then they have to be patient and wait for a passing lane,”
“Some of them pull out and pass anyway which isn’t the right thing to do, but the problem does go away if the trucks are all doing 100km/h.
“We ran trials alongside the Department of Transport that resulted in permission for road trains to travel at 100km/h between Port Augusta and Perth, and Port Augusta and Darwin.” Shearer said.
In addition, Shearer said the truck driver on the video may have been overtaking without a clear view around a bend. He said truck drivers needed to wait for overtaking lanes rather than put their lives at risk. Overtaking should only be done where there is a clear view, Shearer warned. This is his advice to drivers,
“For whatever reason, it certainly looks from the dash cam footage like he commenced an overtaking manoeuvre on a bend.
“Lesson number one is you do not start an overtaking manoeuvre if you don’t have a clear view.
“The second point is, he’s done this a very short distance from an overtaking lane.
“There are usually two, maybe three signs informing you of the overtaking lane.
“Take a few more minutes instead of somebody’s life or your own life – it’s just not worth risking.
“He is very lucky, we all are as an industry, that that motorist remained calm and kept that car tidy even though he had to go off the road.”
The company whose driver engaged in the dangerous overtaking released a statement expressing its disappointment in the driver’s actions and apologising to the public. They also said they would launch a full investigation.