Senior Constable Jamie Mooney completes a computer check on a B-double. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYNTRUCK drivers are in the sights of police on both sides of the border as part of a nationwide road blitz.
Police in Albury and Wodonga are inspecting drivers and their vehicles as part of Operation Austrans, which started on Monday.
The operation comes as police reveal the number of truck crashes resulting in serious injuries has almost doubled in the Wangaratta region, with nine serious crashes this year compared with five for the same period last year.
Albury police began inspecting trucks heading north on the Hume Highway at Holbrook yesterday and will spend 72 hours at the site.
Albury Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Nick Fahy said the operation was about safety.
“We will target major factors that contribute to heavy vehicle road trauma,” he said.
“That includes excessive speed, driver fatigue, alcohol and drug impaired driving and seatbelt offences.
“The message is that drivers need to comply with all the road regulations and take their designated breaks.”
Log books, speed limit tampering and overweight vehicles will also be looked at by officers, who will target major roads and local streets.
“We will be conducting stationary and mobile checks on vehicles and heavy vehicles during the operation,” Acting Sgt Fahy said.
“The operation is designed to detect and deter inappropriate road user behaviour within the heavy vehicle industry.
“Most heavy vehicle drivers are compliant.
“All available police will be utilised for Austrans, not just members of the Highway Patrol.
“There are substantial fines and charges that people can face.”
North East divisional traffic adviser Sen-Sgt Darren Wittingslow said Victorian officers would set up road blocks on six occasions during the blitz, which will include random drug tests.
“We’ve had nine heavy vehicle collisions that have resulted in serious injuries this year,” he said.
“Not all have been the heavy vehicle driver’s fault; we have had two or three where cars have inexplicably pulled out in front of trucks.
“We want the public to be mindful of trucks given that they can’t stop quickly and need extra room.
“If you do have a collision there is quite a big chance you will be injured.”
Truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in Australia.
The operation runs until June 13.
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