Fatigue management, News, Truck driver

Judge hopes sentence serves as a warning to other truck drivers


Melton West truck driver Harley Williams will spend more than a year in prison following the death of a motorist on the Calder Highway near Derby in 2021.

Williams had been driving for more than 12 hours when he crashed into a Jeep SUV driven by 44-year-old William Joseph Williams, who had gotten out to check the vehicle in the breakdown lane, reports The Herald Sun.

He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries 12 days later.

Judge Peter Lauritsen said the custodial prison sentence in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court should serve as a warning to other truck drivers about the dangers of ignoring fatigue.

“The reason for your fatigue was your failure to take breaks and rest,” he said.

“The weather was fine, there was nothing wrong with your truck mechanically, you were driving on legitimate business, you were not affected by drugs or alcohol and there is no evidence of you driving erratically or at speed.”

Judge Lauritsen said Williams had received phone calls on his mobile phone and Snapchat notifications in the lead up to the crash but there was no evidence these were a distraction.

“Your fatigue was the cause of the collision,” he said. “The fact of fatigue as the cause highlights the need for general deterrence.

“My sentence should discourage other truck drivers from driving while fatigued.”

Judge Lauritson said Williams, 26, had good prospects for rehabilitation because he did not suffer from any significant anti-social personality traits and was clearly remorseful for the death of Mr Williams, The Herald Sun added.

He set an 18 month prison sentence without a non-parole term and disqualified Williams from holding a licence for 18 months.

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