Far be it for me to use a couple of stories in the news this week to turn bad news into good news for the trucking industry, but if the information is correct we can pat ourselves on the back. In fact, both stories are painted as bad news and both are designed make us fearful of going out on the roads of Australia.
The first, from a week ago is a piece of news put out by, one of our favourites, Roads and Maritime Services in NSW. It’s all about a raid carried out by the RMS at a Western Sydney DC as part of the current Austrans campaign. The raid was concentrating on vehicle compliance and load restraint, the usual suspects.
188 trucks were examined and 56 drivers were breath and drug tested. As a result one driver was found to have taken drugs. This was a serious offence, the Victorian driver tested positive for methamphetamine and prohibited from driving for 24 hours, and can expect a summons in the mail.
“To have Joint Traffic Taskforce Officers identify trucks not loaded and restrained correctly, tampered to allow speeds of more than 100km/h, and one driver testing positive to drugs, shows the worth of our work in preventing heavy vehicle related crashes on our roads,” said John Hartley, NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s Assistant Commissioner.
Now, let’s compare this to a report this week in the Sunshine Coast Daily in Queensland. The headline says it all, ‘Drug driving shame: One in two drivers test positive’. This is the result of a drug driving blitz carried out on a Friday afternoon at Kawana on the Sunshine Coast.
41 drivers were tested for drugs and 18 of them tested positive for drugs. This is just a snapshot, but the Queensland Police reckon this is a growing problem. A project called the Statewide Roadside Drug Testing Deployment Project has been put together to understand the issue.
“The message about drink driving has been well accepted by the community, that if you consume alcohol, you don’t drive, but unfortunately people are making poor lifestyle choices and that is translating across to a willingness to drive while consuming drugs,” said Senior Sergeant Panoho, who ran the testing. “This isn’t just a policing issue. It’s a whole community issue.”
Everyone will agree, even one person driving under the influence of drugs is unacceptable. What is of concern to the trucking industry, however, is the way the drug driving issue gets reported. We get these shock horror TV reports of drug crazed truckies causing mayhem on the roads. What about the real problem? Drug taking and driving in the wider community is clearly much, much worse than it is in the trucking community.
It would seem the humble truckie should be fearful of going out on the highway filled with drug crazed car drivers!