20 March 2024

Four-day joint operation targets impaired and unsafe truck drivers in the Riverina

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Impaired driving and unsafe mechanical standards and road restraints among heavy vehicle drivers were the focus of a four-day operation. Photo: NSW Police Force.

In an effort to enhance road safety authorities conducted a four-day operation targeting heavy vehicles in the Riverina between 12 and 15 March.

Operation Convoy (Regional), targeting heavy vehicle compliance and driver behaviour, to provide a high-visibility police presence and target unsafe heavy vehicle driver behaviours, was a joint initiative of officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – Riverina Sector and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The four-day operation targeted heavy vehicles travelling through the Murray River, Murrumbidgee, and Riverina police districts, on known main arterial roads and surrounding feeder roads.

As part of the operation officers stopped more than 330 heavy vehicles, conducted 314 random roadside drug tests (obtaining nine positive results) and issued 77 heavy vehicle infringement notices for a range of offences relating to fatigue, load restraints and dimensional breaches.

Officers also detected 21 defects and issued 50 cautions against heavy vehicles.

There were 314 fatal crashes in NSW in 2023 and 31 of those were in the Murray River, Murrumbidgee, and Riverina regions.

Ten of those crashes involved heavy vehicles, while a further 37 serious road injury crashes also involved heavy vehicles.

South West Region Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Superintendent Robert Toynton said recent incidents sparked the police operation.

“The cost of road trauma to the community is significant, including human, social and financial considerations,” Superintendent Toynton said.

“We strongly encourage drivers of heavy vehicles to ensure they are practising safety at all times. This means checking your load, taking regular breaks, and complying with road rules and relevant legislation.

“Heavy vehicles remain overrepresented in serious crashes, and we want to reduce this as much as possible,” Superintendent Toynton said.

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Police dealt with multiple incidents during the four-day operation:

  • Officers stopped a rental van on the Hume Highway at Gundagai for random testing. A search of the vehicle found a large amount of cash hidden in shoeboxes, a UHF radio, and an electronic tracker, which were all seized. Two men were charged with recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime and dealing with property proceeds of crime.
  • A B-double was directed to the NHVR Coolac Inspection site where police found the driver to have falsified diary, fatigue breaches, over hours and tested positive for methamphetamine.
  • A B-double was directed to the NHVR Coolac Inspection site and found the driver to have eight fatigue breaches, two of which were critical.
  • Five other heavy vehicle drivers provided positive results for methamphetamine and cannabis.
  • A truck driver towing a 16-tonne horse float carrying three horses was directed into the Coolac Inspection site. The driver failed to record work diary entries for the past month and admitted to running two work diaries. Police held major fatigue concerns and issued the driver a notice not to drive for 24 hours.

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