The union has accused trucking companies of participating in a “political smokescreen to obscure the lethal economic pressures forced upon truck drivers” after allegations of speed limiter tampering were raised by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of TWU, says the ATA have been conspicuous in their silence on the pressure forced upon truck drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines.
Mr Sheldon adding that the claims show why the industry needs the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
The ATA however has campaigned strongly to see the RSRT scrapped and Mr Melham says Mr Sheldon and the Union are misguided.
In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Melham confirmed the ATA’s submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) on its speed enforcement discussion paper included the following recommendations:
- The NTC should not proceed with its proposal for a power to immediately ground heavy vehicles travelling 15 km/h or more over posted or default speed limits (for example, a vehicle travelling at 78km/hr in a 60km/hr zone); but
- The NTC should proceed with the ATA proposal to support the grounding of heavy vehicles for speeding offences of 15 km/h and above the open road 100 km/h limit when the detected speeding occurs on a flat road.
“The ATA has a longstanding position to support the grounding of trucks for speeding offences of more than 115km/h on an open, flat road and as such we support the NTC in this proposal,” Mr Melham said.
“The ATA submission makes it clear that the industry does not support a proposal for the grounding of trucks found to be speeding by more than 15km/h over posted speed limits.
“Safety is always the ATA’s first priority.”
While Mr Melham also corrected the TWU’s claim that the ATA had been conspicuous in its silence about unrealistic deadlines and pressures on truck drivers.
“As a result of lobbying by the ATA, governments have agreed to dramatic reforms to Australia’s road transport laws.
“This includes a general safety duty on all parties, including the industry’s customers, a massive increase in penalties, and an increase in investigative powers against businesses whose decisions affect road safety.
“These reforms, which capture consignors and consignees, are currently being implemented in the national chain of responsibility legislation.”