Truckie hasn’t driven since caravan crash, court told

Published: March 22, 2021
caravan crash truckie

A truck driver who crashed into a caravan which had pulled over on the side of the Bruce Highway has faced court.

Daniel Hamuera Stuart, 47, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at the time of the accident which happened near St Lawrence on November 10, 2020.

A vehicle towing a caravan had pulled over to check for a flat tyre when Stuart’s  Volvo prime mover struck it, seriously injuring a woman who was trapped under the wreckage.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell told Ipswich Magistrates Court the 81-year-old woman was transported to Mackay base hospital with a serious head injury.

The Queensland Times reports that the truckie has not worked since and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sgt Caldwell said the crash happened at 10.30am in a 110km/h speed zone. The road was straight with a slight incline.

According to the Queensland Times, the woman was driving a white Nissan ute and towing a caravan northbound when she pulled off the road to check for a flat tyre. The police said the caravan received extensive damage with the woman pushed underneath the caravan where she was trapped for a short time.

Sgt Caldwell said Stuart told officers he saw the caravan pulled over but, as he drew near his anti-collision system activated, causing him to collide with the caravan. A police examination of the crash scene indicated the caravan had protruded 13 centimetres onto the northbound lane.

Police also examined dash-camera footage taken from the Volvo.

The Queensland Times reports that Sgt Caldwell said driver fatigue was the likely cause because Stuart had not taken an appropriate rest period as required for heavy vehicle drivers and ‘pushed on’ with his driving.

He said camera footage shows the truck drifting over the line in a fatigue incident 100 seconds before the accident.

Defence lawyer Grant Young said Stuart should have taken the break but there had been a delay in the job.

“It was not deliberate to exceed his work hours,” Mr Young said.

As a result of the crash Stuart had not worked or driven trucks since, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said there was nothing of great significance on Stuart’s traffic record.

“It is serious. People driving trucks need to be extra cautious. I am told it has affected you greatly,” Ms MacCallum said.

The Queensland Times reports that Stuart was fined $1800 and disqualified from driving for three months.

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9 months ago

Sad for all concerned.
What this does though, is send out a loud clear message to anyone, illegally using truck rest areas and speeding up to slow trucks.
Drivers need to rest and if it’s chocked with other vehicle’s this can happen to anyone anywhere.
GRANTED he skipped his rest period and that was his choice.
From him making that choice highlights HOW pressed for tight time schedules truckies are constantly under. Just because their on a rest break doesn’t stop them thinking, of the minutes ticking away on their timetable, which in some cases is crucial whether they make a loading point on time or miss by a few minutes, finding themselves hours before their turn again to load/unload.
If you understand “the domino effect” than you have an insight on being a ‘Truckie” Welcome to their reality.
Pulling over, slowing down in good overtaking stretches…eases the pressure on Everyone. Truckie on his way and you’re not stressed out as you not have 45t plus sitting on your butt.
Because you’re in fear or you don’t give a crap..sadly anything goes wrong, take a wild guess who will suffer the most.
Safe travels Everyone.

Pat from the Top End
9 months ago

Yep…its the workers at the coal face who are blamed and punished.

Meanwhile the Big Frogs sitting in their head offices working out computerised schedules, unrealistic timetables and deadlines for the company profit.
Washing their hands of any responsibility for mistakes of errors by the worker.
Give the truckies a fair go…!

Shane Clark
9 months ago

Have I missed something here, this truckie deliberately skipped his break, you can sugar coat it as much as you like but incompetence is incompetence and the only one responsible here is this truckie. it also hi-lights the weak judiciary in this country, really $1800 fine and loss of licence for 3 months, well gee that will teach these morons that want to flaunt the law won’t it. There’s an old saying “do the crime do the time” unfortunately we have become so obsessed with the perpetrator being the victim that we have forgotten about the real victims, enough is enough, be it truck drivers or car drivers break the law and suffer the full consequences not a slap on the wrist with a wet lettuce leaf.

9 months ago
Reply to  Shane Clark

The real ones to blame are you yes YOU me and society yep
We live in a want now world. Delays are unacceptable

And for skipping a break is your driving perfect every trip
Have you never never ever gone above the speed limit even by 2kph never went through an orange that went red

Tell me how many jobs out there do you have to pay THOUSANDS for a mistake

Truck driving is one of the most difficult demanding dangerous jobs out there and cut throat too.

Cos you me and society want it now and cheap

Pat from the Top End
9 months ago

For some reason some people just cant seem to see the bigger picture…or the forest for the trees..!

9 months ago

NO Shane,
Wasn’t sugar coating Anything…
A valuable lesson presented unfortunately…
for everyone to consider.. no matter what you drive.

Consider my last 5 lines, quietly ask yourself
Which are you?
The answer makes the difference on the road.
Travel safe

9 months ago

I am with you Shane. Laws are put in place for a reason.

“Only a little bit over, You bloody idiot.”
That can apply to speed, alcohol, weights or time. Not sure if all of Australia saw that campaign a few years ago, but it ran in Victoria for quite a while. There is no valid excuse to do the wrong thing.

The people who allow these ridiculous delivery timetables to continue are the drivers. They need to band together to change the system. They can’t keep blaming the bosses. While they continue to drive excessive hours, their bosses will keep pushing them to do it.

The trouble with driving when you are tired is that once your eyes are closed you can’t see the forest or the trees.

9 months ago

I have a lot of respect for truckies. The majority, like car drivers and, hopefully, caravan towers, are reliable and safe drivers. As a truckie passes me on a highway I always flash them with my headlights to let them know they can come back in in front of me. I know they are able to judge the distance but I am telling them I am prepared for them to return to my lane and prepared for a possible buffeting and wind effect. It assists them to get out of the right lane possibly a little quicker than they expected. They all flash indicators in appreciation. We need to respect each other while we share the road. It is very sad for all including the woman towing the van. Safe travels.

9 months ago

All drivers with a car licence should only be allowed to drive a car. If you tow any thing you should have to obtain a licence to tow,involving ability and understanding of how heavy vicles change all the conditions of vehicle handling and loading.As it is now with a car licence you can buy a powerful tow vehicle a put large trailer/van with a gross of up to 11 tonne but cant drive a 5 tonne trock

9 months ago

So the vanner failed to pull properly off the road and got cleaned up by a truck.
Taking up 13 cm of the road by not pulling over fully is a huge amount for a truck that cant just drift over to the right a little like a car can without possibly risking a head on.
Whether or not the truckie had a rest break is irrelevant, the lack of it did not cause the crash, the unsafe stop by the vanner did.


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