Truck drivers told back off
By Luke Prendergast
LYNDAL Denny wants truck drivers to back off literally. The Lennox Head woman has begun a campaign to make it mandatory for truck drivers to maintain a distance of 60 metres between their vehicles and the car in front.
That distance is the law for trucks following trucks, and Mrs Denny said it should be the same when they follow cars.
She set up a stall at Ballina Fair on the weekend, asking shoppers to sign a petition for Member for Ballina Don Page to take to State Parliament.
On sale at the stall were "Thank you for not tailgating" bumper stickers that Mrs Denny said would send a clear message to truck drivers.
"We've written to the truck companies and told them 'as soon as you see that label that means the driver's not there to be intimidated'," she said.
Those buying the bumper stickers were also given instructions on what to do if they felt intimidated by a truck, including reporting them online at www.coasttocoast100.com.au.
"We're targeting intimidating driver behaviour by heavy vehicle drivers," Mrs Denny said. "We're trying to develop a zero tolerance level. The bottom is road safety; that's what it's all about."
Mrs Denny said the website reporting facility was designed to assist police in identifying dangerous drivers.
"They can't go out and chase every truck or heavy vehicle," she said.
"I'm sure a lot of truck drivers, especially at night time, think 'this is our highway; these people should be in bed'."
One person happy to sign the petition was truck driver Doug Lewis, of Skennars Head.
He said truck drivers also experienced tailgating from car drivers waiting to "zip out and overtake", from truck drivers' blind spots.
"Cars sit three metres behind us. If we sit three metres behind you it's intimidating, but it's just as intimidating for us," he said.
"What we need is what they have in Europe: an inhibitor so as soon as you get close to the vehicle in front the inhibitor kicks in.
"It's just driver education, on both sides of the coin."