Road train driver allegedly high on ice sparks outrage

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Road train driver allegedly high on ice
The NT Road Transport Association says the road train industry is largely clean form drugs, PIC: Caddie Brain/ABC

A road train driver who was allegedly high on ice when he was pulled over by police has been slammed for ‘besmirching the reputation of the entire industry’.

The 30-year-old was at the wheel of a three-trailer, 53-metre-long road train on the Stuart Highway when he was pulled over for a random drug test 80 kilometres north of Tennant Creek on Friday.

A police statement said patrolling officers saw “a road train with three trailers driving in a questionable manner, swerving onto the dirt verge and across the centre line several times for no apparent reason”.

The ABC reports that the driver had his vehicle seized, along with drug paraphernalia found inside his truck. He was issued with a court notice, charged with a number of driving offences, and had his licence immediately suspended for 24 hours.

The NT Road Transport Association (NT RTA) told the ABC that the allegations, if proven, showed the industry needed ‘to be held at a higher standard’.

“Our road conditions and our environment and our geography means that every single employer just emphasises ‘just get there when you get there’, essentially, and ‘just pull over when you’re tired’,” NT RTA executive officer Louise Bilato said. “The attitude that may be put out there that people have these extreme deadlines, with employers standing over them with a stick insisting that they arrive at particular times and they have to stay awake for an extended period — that’s old hat.”

She said the safety risk the alleged offence had posed to the general public was ‘not acceptable’.

It was a sentiment echoed by Northern Territory police.  Sergeant Conan Robertson of the Southern Traffic Operations Unit said the majority of lives were continuing to be lost on regional and remote roads.

“We are breath and drug testing drivers at random operating cars, motorcycles, trucks and road trains throughout the Northern Territory, including people who think they are safely in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “Anyone can see that a driver under the influence in a 50-plus-metre truck pulling three trailers is a catastrophic crash waiting to happen … imagine being on the road and finding yourself in the path of this disaster.”

The ABC reports that there were 50 deaths on Territory roads last year, making it a rate four times higher, per capita, than any other state or territory in Australia.

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One Response to Road train driver allegedly high on ice sparks outrage

  1. If random tests are carried out regularly on remote roads the message might just get through. Some large trucks are scary enough when they come up behind you and sit on your tail even though you are doing the appropriate speeds for road conditions. We would all be terrified if we knew they had ice problems as well.

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