Many grey nomads find sharing often narrow roads with heavy trucks to be a frightening experience.
While most travellers are well aware that hard-working truckies are on tight schedules and have an important job to do, they can still be intimidated by occasional incidents of aggressive driving or tailgating.
This is what makes the recent revelation that 156 truckies tested positive for drugs when stopped by Victorian police last year so frightening. Around one in 14 of those drivers tested for drugs returned a positive reading. It can only be assumed that the percentage would be similar among truckies driving in other states and territories.
Victoria Police said ‘ratbag drivers’ in charge of driving 60-tonne ‘weapons’ were treating other motorists as potential roadkill.
Among the drugs of choice for truckies are speed, ice and marijuana.
Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin, head of Victoria Police’s transport investigations unit, told the Herald Sun newspaper that, while most truckies would not contemplate driving high on drugs, it was the rogue element which needed to be booted from the industry.
“Unfortunately they are tainted by the ratbags in the transport industry who have got absolutely no regard for road safety, other road users, themselves or their families,” he said. “Selfishness is what drives them.”
The Herald Sun reports that police recently admitted that truckies were driving for more than 16 hours a day and some were using ice and speed to stay awake. Heavy-vehicle drivers are supposed to drive for a maximum of 12 hours a day.
Police have received funding to ‘significantly’ ramp up testing of drugs, which was a worsening problem among all drivers.