Truck industry a ‘cocktail of death’, says union


New South Wales has teamed up with bordering states and the ACT to launch a major blitz targeting "cowboy" truck drivers, while their union says the whole industry needs an overhaul.

The crackdown follows the deaths of five people involved in heavy-vehicle crashes last month in New South Wales.

To ensure vehicles leaving and entering New South Wales are safe, authorities are coordinating efforts with Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said authorities were sick of the carnage on road.

"We've already had 38 people killed this year, which is nine over this time last year. Five of those are the direct result of heavy-vehicle crashes," he said.

"We've planned this to make sure everyone knows we won't tolerate this any further."

The industry needs to change: union

Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon said targeting drivers won't fix the problem.

"This cocktail of death is because of economic pressure, not just driver behaviour," he said.

Mr Sheldon said driver behaviour can't change until the industry does.

"Drivers are operating under threat of losing their jobs if they don't get their goods for big transport companies, small transport companies and clients to meet deadlines."

Roads and Maritime Services director of compliance Roger Weeks said the actions of some in the industry were tarnishing the reputation of truck drivers.

"For those cowboy truckies, for those dishonest companies and for those parties in the supply chain who are placing unreasonable demands on the trucking industry, you're in our sights," he said.

"Those ratbags are the ones giving the industry a bad name."

Trucks with no brakes, insecure loads found

Police inspecting a truck on a sydney road.

Authorities are targeting drug and alcohol use, fatigue, speed and vehicle roadworthiness.

In Camellia in Sydney's west, Inspector Greg Casey said his officers discovered drivers committing a range of offenses.

"We've seen insecure loads, we've seen a number of work diary and driver fatigue offences," he said.

"An overloaded truck with no brakes [where] the pedal went straight to the floor."

"We'd like to see trucks coming through here in good order but probably one of the positives here today is that we've been drug testing and breath testing every driver that's come through and all negative results."

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