On the road to safe driving
CAMPAIGNING truckie Frank Black thinks better pay for drivers would mean fewer deaths and safer roads.
The long-distance owner/driver brought his rig to a halt outside Rockhampton City Hall yesterday to raise awareness of the fatigue issue that continues to plague the transport industry.
He’s the face of a Transport Workers Union call for a national deal on minimum rates for truckies that would negate the need for them to drive while tired.
Frank, who’s based in Brisbane, is driving from Townsville to the state capital to ask local councils to put pressure on Kevin Rudd for an early intervention.
“I’ve lost a couple of friends in accidents and while we will never know if fatigue was a factor, I know the pressure truckies are under to keep going, spend that bit more time at the wheel than is safe,” he said.
“There are numerous issues in this industry – the state of the roads and the lack of rest areas among them – but this is the most important.”
He said the campaign was for sustainable minimum rates that would encourage drivers to rest properly, and for rig owners to ensure their vehicles were correctly maintained.
Frank handed a report on safety and rates of pay in the transport industry to Mayor Brad Carter and asked him to deliver the document to Canberra to “help put an end to the terrible loss of life on Queensland roads.”
Hughie Williams, branch secretary of the TWU in Queensland, said there should be a national pay rate for drivers to fully compensate them for their labour, waiting times and fuel costs, so truckies were not forced to drive long hours just to make ends meet.
At the start of November, 53 people had died in accidents involving heavy vehicles in Queensland this year. The nation’s transport industry toll last year was 281.