Truckies being naughty at night
By MARY MANN
THE terrifying combination of a B-double truck, light rain and a bend in the road is enough to turn Sheila Aveling's knuckles white.
In February last year, an out-of-control truck rolled on its side and slid towards her. The memories of her narrow escape fill her mind as she braves the 'scary' Pacific Highway most days.
Simply driving to work shouldn't be so traumatic but for many like Ms Aveling, it often is.
A report by local lobby group Coast to Coast 100 has revealed more than 1700 incidents of misbehaving truckies have been lodged on the group's website in the past six months alone.
The incidents relate to dangerous habits such as tailgating and speeding.
The upside, according to the group's founder, Lyndal Denny, is that truck driver behaviour since the group was formed has improved dramatically during the daytime.
The flipside is that between dusk and dawn, rogue truckies are still putting people's lives at risk.
"Venturing out on to the Pacific Highway during this period is a dangerous and nerve-racking experience," Ms Denny said.
"In the evening motorists find themselves caught up in long lines of trucks, bumper-to-bumper, doing well above 100km/h.
"I think truck drivers realise people won't tolerate bad behaviour so they are behaving better in the day, but they think they can get away with it under the cover of darkness."
Ms Denny will now use the report in her push to get the NSW Government to make it mandatory for truck drivers to maintain a minimum of 60 metres distance between themselves and the car in front.
She also wants all truck drivers to be forced to carry a phone number on the rear of trailers to enable motorists to report dangerous driving.
The Australian Trucking Association yesterday told The Northern Star it was looking into the report.
"There is no excuse for intimidation or unprofessional behaviour on the road," CEO Stuart St Clair said.
The association will hold a trucking industry safety forum in May, looking at how the industry can push its accident rate down and change the culture of the industry so safety becomes a basic part of doing business for everyone.