06:45 pm, Tuesday 29 November, 2011
A recent survey conducted by the Transport Workers Union’s revealed that one in four truck drivers were pressured to drive at risky speeds to meet deadlines and that they are pushed through their limit.
The Transport Workers’ Union’s 2011 Safe Rates Survey which was done over a three-week period was concluded on 11 November 2011. The survey was conducted to 715 transport workers across Australia.
In a news release, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said that these results confirm the pressure that powerful industry clients can give to drivers and operators. “With no way to ensure cost recovery on essentials like fuel and maintenance, or when forced to work slabs of unpaid waiting time, truck drivers have to push themselves to – and something through – the limit,” said Mr. Sheldon.
The survey also showed that forty eight percent of truck drivers report to work one day a week in unpaid waiting time. For delivery drivers, it is more than 10 hours a week which results to 300-500 hours per year of working without pay. Fifty six percent of the drivers had to delay vehicle maintenance because of economic issues. The survey also revealed that twenty seven percent of the drivers had to drive at excessive speeds, while nearly forty percent were pressured to drive longer to meet client expectations.
The survey results supported the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s 2010 Road Deaths Australia Report, which shows that there were 256 fatalities from crashes involving heavy trucks.
Mr. Sheldon said that the Safe Rates Survey was conducted to address the economic aspects which contribute to crashes and other issues in the road transport industry.
“All of the evidence tells us that we need an independent tribunal to establish and maintain enforceable rates and related conditions. All drivers must be able to make a living for themselves and their families, and safely,” said Mr. Sheldon.