Opinion

Stop using our rest areas for compliance blitzes, say truckies

Rest areas are supposed to be for truck drivers and motorists to pull up for fatigue management, not places where road transport inspectors and police should set up traffic blitzes.

That was an overwhelming response from truckies about my report in a recent column about such a blitz at the Mingela Rest Area beside the Flinders Highway in Queensland.

All traffic travelling towards Charters Towers was pulled over and checked with a small number of infringements issued.

But readers of Big Rigs overwhelmingly responded saying the actions were hypocritical by authorities.

“They want to police fatigue management and issue fines for clerical logbook errors and yet they set up a blitz in a rest area and trucks can’t stop there until they finish it,” one truckie told Spy.

“Nice of them to take over a rest area for their money making efforts. What happens to fatigue management?” one posted on our Facebook page.

Another asked what would have happened if a driver slotted a stop there during his travels to abide by the law. “Too bad if you needed your break whilst they took over the heavy vehicle rest area and then are told to move on to next area,” he said.

Another driver said it wasn’t an appropriate use of any rest area. “Truck rest areas are very limited at the best of times and police have many places to use,” she said.

One angry reader called a spade a shovel with his thoughts, “Rest areas are meant to be for fatigue management so we can pull over for rest breaks (trucks). A heap of them should have got together and all pulled up there blocking the way, sorry officer due for my break,” he said.

A veteran driver didn’t miss the opportunity to have a crack at caravaners. “They let the caravan industry sail on overloaded,” he said.

However another driver said transport inspectors play an important role in the safety of Queensland drivers and protecting the state’s road infrastructure.

“Really, how about we start with decent SAFE ROADS. Thus, will stop the vehicle fatigue and or damage. Maybe it’s high time,” he said.

An angry driver questioned if these are just revenue raisers which are interfering with truckies rest times. “Easy pickings. Spend the day checking caravans then compare the results,” he said.

Another said infringements issued seemed like a reasonable ratio for a change. Truck drivers who were pulled over were praised by another who said that 14 “heavy vehicles” out of 302 vehicles was a low number of infringements. “That means most are in compliance?”

One truckie asked if any was infringed for “having a leaky hose?”

I was particularly impressed with the comments by one respondent who had this suggestion. “If it’s a designated rest area, pull up, let them do their tests and what not then say you’re fatigued and go to bed (in the sleeper box). Not much they can do really, they can’t make you drive fatigued.”

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