Wheelchair-bound man winched to safety, truck driver sacked

RACQ is currently butting heads with the Transport Workers Union of Queensland following the sacking of a tow truck driver.

The TWU have commended the driver for saving a wheelchair bound driver from a life-threatening breakdown on the M1 recently.

TWU Queensland State Secretary Peter Biagini told Big Rigs the tow truck driver thought the situation was risky as the driver pulled over on the highway was disabled and needed to access his wheelchair, which was stored above the car.

Mr Biagini said it was too dangerous with fast moving traffic too close to the vehicle to open the car door wide enough to get him out and get him into his wheel chair in order for him to get into the tow truck.

He said the tow truck driver drove with the man winched until he was off the highway then followed procedure.

"He should be a hero this guy," Mr Biagini said.

However the RACQ see things differently.

"This was a very serious matter and the driver's actions were in breach of the law, RACQ's strict safety protocols and actually placed the member at far greater risk," RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner said.

 "This is a case of gross and wilful misconduct involving serious breaches of safety and acting contrary to instructions.

"We therefore stand by our decision and will deal with any challenge to that decision in the appropriate forum. RACQ rejects the suggestion that this person's actions were heroic," he said.

At this stage the TWU are not releasing the tow truck drivers' name.

He is seeking to be reinstated and the matter is with Fair Work Australia.

Read the full interview with TWU QLD state secretary Peter Biagini in the next edition of Big Rigs.

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