Driver's actions cast pall over other truckies

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Last updated 13:30 14/02/2014
crash on SH3 stand
Pipes from the crash on SH3 near Urenui that killed Nancy and Ern Sutton.

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What a joke. I think the judge needs to get out a little more. Community service for killing two perfectly innocent people through your own ineptitude and stupidity? Yeah right.

Am I right in assuming that the judge has condoned the use of cannabis while working with/ driving trucks or heavy machinery, or any motorised vehicle, by rejecting the cannabis in the driver's blood as an aggravating factor, when we in the industry are trying to eliminate this practice through testing and education?

Doesn't the law have a section which states it is illegal to have alcohol and drugs in your system while you are in charge of a motor vehicle?

The judge also states that while the truck driver had 25 years of experience in the heavy transport industry, on the day he picked up this ''unusual load'' he was not given any training or instructions as to how to load the truck.

This is a problem that I have with our continually evolving health and safety regime that is getting a firm grip in our workplaces. We as owners, directors, managers, supervisors and so on are being tasked with keeping our workers safe by continually telling them how to do the job, how to do this and how to do that.

I believe that in effect we are being made to treat our employees like idiots and are taking away the individual's right to be able to think for themselves.

Is this a good position to be in? Trust me, judge, that load was not unusual! We cart loads like that every week. I would have thought that after 25 years the driver would not have needed any instructions.

Where was he to get these instructions from? The forklift driver? The sales manager? The smoko boy?

All of whom, I would suspect, would have had considerably less experience than this ''professional truck driver''.

I disagree with the statement that the company supplying the pipes should share legal and practical responsibility for ensuring the load was secure. They can say what they like but if the driver refuses to listen then what can they do about it?

They did what they could by banning this driver from working on their sites again. In my opinion the truck driver had sole control of the truck he was driving, as well as the load, so therefore he is totally responsible for the accident.

He was the one who didn't have enough restraints on the load. He was the one with cannabis in his system.

He was the one behind the steering wheel. End of story.

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This driver has cast a pall over the driving fraternity in New Zealand.

In my opinion he has brought a heap of disrepute down on to the shoulders of the hundreds of very professional truck drivers we have in our country, the ones who do care about the other travellers on our roads, the ones who don't use drugs or drink alcohol before they go to work, the ones who have a pride in what they do and how they go about their everyday business.

My sympathies go out to the Sutton family because in this instance I don't think that justice has been done.

FRED QUILTER

Waitara

- © Fairfax NZ News

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