• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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Shifting freight to rail is the only way to get serious about Highway safety

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) claimed today the recent road tragedy at Urunga could have been much worse if the truck was carrying fuel or gas. NCEC spokesperson, John Jeayes, said, “It is very likely the truck driver may not have caused this terrible accident but the mere fact that B-Doubles and other heavy trucks are on our highways will contribute to more and more of these sorts of accidents.”

In an article “Shifting freight to rail could make the Pacific Highway safer”, Phillip Laird of Wollongong University wrote:

“Articulated trucks such as semi-trailers and “B-Doubles” are involved in about 30% of fatal road accidents on the Pacific Highway. As the number of trucks carrying freight between Sydney and Brisbane increases, we will see more tragic incidents like the fatal crash involving a B-Double on 8 January 2012 near Urunga.”1

“Why, asks Mr Jeayes, “are we trying to convert the Pacific Highway into a super highway to cater for truck transport when the vast majority of North Coast residents just want a safe and adequate highway? The majority of long distance freight should be on an upgraded railway, he claimed.”

“Given some adequate funding the rail line could handle all the dangerous intercity cargo and make the highway less dangerous.”

“There is a lack of lateral thinking on solving the intercity cargo problem.

Why does ALL the money go into the highway and not equal sums into rail?

Could more be accomplished for the funds and the time available by choosing easier routes which are environmentally and economically sustainable?

How are the priorities for work decided and by whom? Is the community reference group work structured to give the result the RTA wanted in the first place no matter what community objections are raised.

Are there any North Coast residents outside the transport industry in favour of B-Doubles on our highway? How many people on the North Coast are afraid to drive after dark on our highways and mix it with convoys of trucks?

Is the upgrade of the Pacific Highway from Newcastle to Tweed more about business than road safety?

Even with the upgrade completed fatalities involving heavy trucks will continue as was indicated with the recent Tintenbar smash on a section of completed highway.2

Transport chiefs around Australia have said that improving the rail system to travel at 80kph

to carry cargo from Melbourne to Brisbane would result in the disappearance of long distance trucks from the highways.”

1 http://theconversation.edu.au/shifting-freight-to-rail-could-make-the-pacific-highway-safer-4882

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5 Responses

  1. Some truckers are bullies at night risking peoples lives. Driving between Wardell and Woodburn is a nightmare at night. If you don’t speed some trucks will ride up you and sandwich you between other trucks. One trucker tried to run me off the road once we got to an overtaking lane just because I was doing the speed limit and didn’t pull over when he was within 2 metres from me flashing high beams into my window affecting my ability to see. This was extremely dangerous and I nearly ended up being forced from the road. This sort of road bullying is common on that stretch of road. Put the trucks on the trains to save peoples lives and save the environment. If the government doesn’t do this then they aren’t serious about road safety.

  2. Over in the UK with our narrow roads cycling can be pretty dangerous, particulalry with lorries, tractors too often driven by 16 year olds, are wide and potentially very sqaushy for cyclists.

    On the whole though big rig / HGV drivers in the UK are very good drivers, very responsable, and do not drive dangerously. I don’y know abou the staes but in the UK we have a time based system where drivers stop for 1 hours rest for every 2 hours driving (or similar).

    With regards to bullying when you are in a car just ignore it, they are not going to run you off the road, just drive normally until it is safe to pull over and klet them past.

  3. Just driving normally seems easy to say. if you have a bdouble and trucks ahead and behind then just driving the speed limit at night is easy to say but to honestly survive is not the expectation of many who are not prepared to dice with truckies and death.

    Rail bosses need a new framework for planning.
    Government needs to allocate funding for duplication of the north coast rail link to brisbane and also a new mindset for some goods trains – That major transfer sidings to road transport at major stations be provided along the line with shunting locomotives so that goods currently on roads can be on rail and “dropped off” the local delivery train and picked up to road transport from there.

    Similar new rail concepts need apply to the other rail networks to take the trucks off the roads. The major saving will be in the considerably less road maintenance where new lines would incorporate all the now good practice such as concrete sleepers.

  4. Nice post.Thank you for sharing some good things!!

    Freight Shipping

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