The Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) branch secretary, Ray Wyatt says that operators should be jailed for vehicle defects because vehicle grounding and issuing fines aren’t enough to improve safety in the sector.
In order for “real change” the TWU branch secretary believes operators should face jail, this after an operation by South Australian police discovered 31 defects in the 63 heavy vehicles inspected.
By now we’re all aware of the consequences of unsafe vehicles on the road, yet many operators are still allowing these problematic/ defective vehicles on the road – the operators need to face jail time in order for real change to be implemented. He says that the thought of facing financial penalties alone isn’t enough.
SA branch secretary Ray Wyatt expressed his shock at the police’s discoveries during last month’s operation. During the operation, police found almost one in 2 heavy vehicles pulled over in Adelaide was driving with “a significant” mechanical defect. Those companies responsible were fined and will also face resourcing issues as they bring their vehicles up to standard. But according to Wyatt these financial penalties won’t do enough to promote change.
The results are shocking, Mr Wyatt said and the people involved need to be incarcerated because their action could result in the loss of lives on the road. A serious infringement calls for a serious punishment. He went on to state:
“It’s when people are actually penalised and incarcerated for causing deaths on our roads [that] we’ll have safe roads in Australia,” he says.
“Until directors and CEOs go to jail, there will continue to be this squeeze where it’s all about the bottom line and dollars for shareholders.”
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The operation dubbed “Operation Shake-Up took place on April 28, focusing solely on heavy vehicles, to ensure road worthy compliance.
According to police, 63 heavy vehicles were inspected and 31 were found defective. A staggering 30 of these vehicles had “major” defects including brake and/or steering defects.
It is hoped that harsher, personal penalties, rather than financial penalties which will likely affect the company alone, not the individuals responsible, will serve as more of an incentive to do the right thing.
Guy Buckley, officer in charge of the operation said that the results of the operation were “disappointing”. Mr Buckley concluded by explaining,
“The number of heavy vehicles defected was disappointing but the reasons for the defects were of concern to police given most were for ‘major’ defects,” officer-in-charge Guy Buckley says. Several vehicles had to be towed to a place of repair.
“A pleasing outcome was no-one returned a positive result to drugs or alcohol of all the drivers stopped and tested,” Superintendent Buckley says.