Chullora based truck driver, John Waltis says he's seen way too many deaths while on the road, prompting his plea for a shake-up of the transport industry.
DURING his 40 years behind the wheel, Chullora based truck driver, John Waltis says he's seen far too many deaths on the road.
The Lansvale resident clocks up about 1,000km a day, Monday to Friday, in his 'b-double' along the Hume Highway between Chullora and Culcairn.
"Unfortunately I've been to too many truck drivers' funerals than I care to remember," Mr Waltis said.
The 63-year-old wants the Federal Government to tackle the high death toll among truck drivers, as Safe Work Australia statistics for 2016 show that more than one in three workers killed last year were in the transport industry.
"I've seen the consequences of fatigue, the pressures to meet deadlines, and crashes due to mechanical faults. It's time for some big changes," he said.
Out of a total of 176 work-related deaths last year, 63 were in the transport industry. The next highest industry for fatalities was agriculture at 40 deaths. A safety summit organised by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) will take place early next month, bringing together academics, industry and regulators to discuss solutions to the crisis.
TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said last year the Federal Government scrapped an independent tribunal investigating the pressures on road transport workers that cause truck crashes.
"Transport workers have a right to be safe at work; the Government needs to honour that right," Mr Sheldon said.
Mr Waltis, speaking to the Torch from his truck on the Hume Highway at Gundagai, said one solution to the crisis is to ensure drivers are not pressured into driving longer hours.
"Most long distance truck drivers are paid by the kilometre and not by the hour," he said.
"We should be paid like most other employees in Australia; for every minute we are at work, not by the kilometre" he said.
"This will go along way to combating fatigue and in turn reduce fatalities in the industry."
In the 10 years to 2014 over 2,500 truck drivers and other road users died in truck crashes.