NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) officers have executed search warrants and intercepted a company’s fleet of heavy vehicles as part of an investigation into alleged speed tampering and compliance.
Operation Felled was formed by Traffic and Highway Patrol and Far South Coast LAC, to investigate one company’s daily operations and compliance with road transport legislation.
The operation which is ongoing targeted speed tampering, fatigue offences and vehicle compliance, including workbook and system breaches, and involved engine control modules (ECM) downloads and drug and alcohol testing.
About 7.55am today, a 41-year-old Greigs Flat man was arrested at a South Pambula address. He has been charged with supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, supply prohibited drugs (x2) and possess prohibited drugs (x2). He was refused bail to appear in Batemans Bay Local Court today (Thursday 22 August 2013).
The man’s arrest relates to inquiries into the alleged use and supply of prohibited drugs during the operation of heavy vehicles.
About 8am today (Thursday 22 August 2013), police executed warrants at Pambula on the South Coast and Greigs Flat, as well as a company depot in Ingleburn. Officers also intercepted fleet trucks in transit on major highways across Sydney, checking compliance and drug and alcohol testing drivers.
At the Greigs Flat address, officers allegedly located an amount of prohibited drugs and drug paraphernalia in a vehicle and prohibited drugs inside the premise. These were seized by police.
During the warrants, investigators seized company computer records and documents allegedly relating to speed and fatigue management and responsibilities.
Two trucks were identified for speed tampering and compliance issues, resulting in two drivers receiving infringements for $2092. The RMS will now investigate these matters further in terms of the company’s compliance with speed requirements.
A company convicted of speed tampering faces penalties in excess of $16,000, while directors can also be held responsible. Company’s convicted of breaches of fatigue requirements can face penalties in excess of $27,000.
So far during the operation, 16 defects have been issued by RMS for a range of minor and major defects inclusive of brakes, tyres, oil and fuel issues, and suspension, body/chassis, and tow couplings.
Police and RMS have inspected 18 trucks in NSW, five were identified interstate, which resulted in five court attendance notices issued to drivers for fatigue-related offences. A further 10 infringements have been issued for other defects, fatigue, and ECM offences.
Superintendent Stuart Smith, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said today’s operation is only the start for truckies and operators who are not compliant with our legislation.
“This operation is part of our ongoing commitment to stamping out rogue operators on our major highways and roads.
“There is no place in the trucking industry for alleged speed and fatigue enhancing, by tampering with equipment or taking illegal drugs. Fatigued drivers or those under the influence behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle put motorists at serious risk on our roads.
“Every year for the last three years, there have been in excess of 80 fatalities on our roads involving heavy vehicles.
“Our message is clear to operators and drivers, clean up your act before we do it for you,” Superintendent Smith said.
RMS General Manager of Compliance Operation, Mr Paul Endycott, said today’s operation by the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce highlights the important work this group carry out to keep our roads safe for all motorists.
“The fatigue issues and speed limiter tampering identified is deeply concerning and shows there is still work to be done to ensure the majority of honest, hard working truck drivers and operators are not unfairly associated with such dangerous and illegal behaviour,” Mr Endycott said.