Operators ask scalies to use ‘discretion and interpretation’

Two long-time road transport operators who run weekly road trains from Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands to Cape York have called on scalies to use “discretion and interpretation” before infringing truck drivers for minor offences.

Simon Tuxworth is a director of Cairns-based Tuxworth and Woods Carriers and small fleet operator Dennis Dent spoke to Big Rigs about scalies who regularly set up a heavy vehicle inspection station at Mount Carbine, which is on the way to Cape York.

Tuxworth and Woods have depots at Cairns, Cooktown, Weipa and Normanton while Dent Transport is based at Mareeba.

They both say that scalies have infringed drivers for very minor breaches such as a broken tail-light, or a sensor which is not working.

Tuxworth and Dent claim that on the return journey from Weipa trucks can sustain such damage along the notorious Peninsula Development Road (PDR).

“Instead of fining drivers for these things which can wreck our trucks they should be spending money to fix the road. It is supposed to be a national highway and is in atrocious condition,” Dent said.

The 76-year-old Dent runs four trucks weekly to various Cape York destinations along much of the 590km stretch between Lakeland and Weipa.

About half of the PDR is dirt with many corrugations which cause a lot of damage to trucks.

“Scalies need to show leniency and discretion especially on the way back. I hear some drivers have been booked for a slightly cracked glass windscreen. Where are they going to get that fixed in the middle or nowhere?” Dent said.

Tuxworth and Woods celebrated five decades of service to the road transport industry last year and has a total of 23 trucks with 13 doing weekly trips to Cape York.

“Only last week one of my trucks was grounded because a sensor light didn’t work which was caused by the rough road. It is in being fixed now and will cost a lot and it costs almost $20,000 annually for registration of a triple road train. The inspectors need to show discretion and interpretation when it comes to minor things which the corrugations are responsible for,” Tuxworth said.

Numerous other truckies have complained to Big Rigs about the harsh treatment of truck drivers.

They say that the Mount Carbine Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station is open at various times often 24 hours a day.

“Sometimes they stay there for a week and then you don’t see them for a fortnight, we never know when they are there. But we have to stop if they are there,” one told Big Rigs.

When we first posted a story about this issue online, readers vented their frustration at the treatment of truckies at this site.

One said that TMR should focus firstly on fixing the roads in the area before issuing defect notices for the issues that result.

“Would it not be a reasonable defence that it is the quality of the road that has caused the defect and make the people responsible for the road liable? If it is the case, should TMR not be issuing fines to them as they are a party to the COR?”, wrote Daniel Lane.

Adrian Bates also felt that truckies were being unfairly targetted at Mount Carbine.

“Meanwhile in Brisbane there are cars with no brake lights, missing mirrors, bald tyres,  caravanners with no towing mirrors and exceeding all weights. Tradies’ utes and trailers and vans overweight, unsecured loads, broken lights and so on. I know the rules are the rules, but many owners-drivers of trucks find and fix all problems along the way, or once in a major town.”

Transport and Main Roads (TMR) told Big Rigs that between January 2023 and September 2023, it conducted 96 intercepts in Mount Carbine.

These inspections resulted in 30 defect notices, primarily addressing body and chassis defects, windscreen and glazing issues, brake defects, as well as issues with lights and electrical components.

A TMR spokesperson said its transport inspectors (TIs) undertake daily on-road patrols to ensure all vehicles comply with the necessary safety standards and regulations while travelling on Queensland roads.

“If an unsafe vehicle is being driven on our roads, our TIs will issue the registered owner a defect notice, requesting repairs to be undertaken and the defect to be cleared by a specified time.

“As Mount Carbine serves as the gateway from the Cape to Cairns, our TIs regularly visit the inspection site to ensure the safety of vehicles and drivers entering areas with high population density.”


  1. Why do electric trucks get a concession?
    We get fined for being 200kg over even though the truck copes with extra load well. I thought the extra weight was too hard on the roads 😕

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