LTSA survey raises concern over log truck speeds
The Land Transport Safety Authority is putting log truck drivers on notice: if they put other road users at risk by driving too fast, particularly around bends, then they will be ticketed by police for careless or dangerous driving.
The Director of Land Transport Safety, Reg Barrett, said today that targeting trucks on bends was part of increased enforcement measures that would be put in place over the next few months.
This action was initiated at a recent meeting between the LTSA, Police, the Road Transport Forum and the Log Truck Safety Council, following the results of a covert survey by the LTSA that showed log trucks travelling too fast around corners.
As well as issuing tickets for dangerous and careless driving, police would measure truck speeds against the posted advisory speed limits and notify the LTSA and Log Truck Safety Council of trucks taking corners too fast.
This is to develop and implement a system whereby if a log truck company received three speed notifications within a 12 month period, the last log truck caught would be stood down from service for 24 hours by the forest owner.
Mr Barrett said the action was necessary because the speed at which many logging trucks were cornering was putting other road users at risk.
“As has been shown already this year, the consequences of an accident involving a log truck can be horrendous,” Mr Barrett said.
“There has been a lot of work done by the LTSA, the Police and the transport and logging industries to put safety guidelines in place and to educate operators about their responsibilities. However, the log truck speed survey done in May this year revealed many operators were still not following guidelines on safe cornering speeds.
At two of the three survey sites, every log truck exceeded the recommended safe cornering speed by up to 20 km/h. In October 1999 all log truck operators were advised to keep their speed at least 10 per cent below the advisory speed posted on corners due to concerns about log trucks tipping over on bends.
Other surveys done in May found a good improvement in compliance with load height restrictions, with 97 per cent of loads meeting the requirements compared to 79 per cent last year. The LTSA, Police and transport industry agreed on reduced load height limits in 1997 to address log trailer stability problems.
Mr Barrett said that while it was pleasing to see that height restrictions were being adhered to, the LTSA was very concerned about the speed survey results.
“What the speed survey reveals is that there are still many operators who don’t seem to realise how dangerous it is to ignore the safety guidelines for cornering speed.
“This new enforcement system will help reinforce the need for drivers to accept their responsibility to road safety and keep their speeds at an appropriate level.”
Mr Barrett asked other motorists to play their part by being tolerant of log trucks travelling at reduced speeds around corners.
“Motorists should not create a safety problem of their own by overtaking log trucks when it is not safe to do so.”