Heavy vehicle drivers around Australia have been targeted by police in the first ‘National day of drug testing’, as part of Operation Austrans.
The annual co-ordinated operation focuses on checking heavy vehicle drivers across each jurisdiction for drugs and alcohol, traffic, fatigue and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) compliance offences.
Acting Superintendent of Road Policing Operations Stuart McGregor said the results from Monday paint an alarming picture of drug culture within the industry.
“In Victoria, 295 drug driver screening tests were administered on Monday with eight heavy vehicle drivers returning a positive result,” Superintendent McGregor said.
“Alarmingly, that is 1:37 drivers that just should not be driving on our (Victorian) roads.”
‘Quadrella’ of offences
Highway police intercepted a B-Double on the Calder Freeway, a major freight thoroughfare, travelling at 100km/h in an 80km/h zone.
A check of the driver revealed he had a suspended licence, alleged falsified log books and he then failed an oral fluid drug test.
Drug testing was conducted nationally with 63 positive drug tests returned, 1 in every 68.
Operation Austrans has participation across Australia and New Zealand and has been conducted annually since 1989.
It is a collaborative effort to enhance safety by monitoring adherence to road and operational safety issues in the heavy vehicle road transport sector.
Acting Superintendent McGregor said that the results have revealed that despite efforts to eradicate driver drug use, there is a core group of heavy vehicle drivers putting the community at risk.
“None of us want to think that the 12-tonne truck approaching us at 100km/h on the freeway is under control of a person impaired by illicit drugs,” he said.
Can you be held responsible if your driver is caught speeding … or drug-affected? What if your driver has falsified documents or doesn’t have a current licence to operate a heavy vehicle? Are you liable for breaches if the driver is a contractor?
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