The tragic death of WA truckie Darren Twine in 2020 has highlighted the dangers of using modified sun visors in truck cabs, a coronial inquest into the incident has found.
The 52-year-old died after he was struck by a work colleague’s prime mover as it pulled out of a Port Hedland roadhouse parking area on the evening of July 8, 2020.
The inquest found the driver’s vehicle was fitted with a non-original reflective visor to the base of the windscreen which extended the already existing blind spot to more than a metre.
The 25-year-old driver had not realised Twine was in front of his truck and — in a “traumatised state” — had continued down Great Northern Highway before pulling into an assembly area, calling his mother and returning to the scene.
“It is my fervent hope that the dangerous practice of heavy vehicle operators using modified foil window shades at the bottom of their windscreens (particularly in cabover vehicles) will cease,” concluded Coroner Philip Urqhart.
“Given the efforts by WorkSafe to alert these operators to this dangerous practice, I have not felt it necessary to make any recommendation with respect to this matter. I also note that the evidence before me was that Norwest Crane Hire had prohibited its drivers from engaging in this practice shortly after Mr Twine’s death.
“From my research since the inquest, it has been reassuring to find that manufacturers of heavy haulage vehicles have begun introducing safety features designed to avoid collisions with other road users, including pedestrians. These systems incorporate a combination of warning alerts and automations that are designed to be activated when a potentially dangerous change in the driving environment is detected.”
Cattle truck driver Cliff Graham told ABC News that he was relieved people in the industry could continue using the visors, as there were few alternatives on offer.
“To say you don’t need them at all is pretty narrow minded because of the harsh sun in Australia, especially in the outback,” he said.
“You’ve got to make yourself as comfortable as possible on these long drives.”