Police are this month focusing on the safety of the highway heavyweights as part of a month long trans-Tasman operation involving the heavy vehicle transport sector.
The operation involves Police and road safety agencies from Australia and New Zealand, who will be carrying out various operations between 18 May and 13 June, with a focus on issues such as vehicle safety, fatigue, driver behaviour, speed compliance, alcohol and drug use.
New Zealand's contribution to Operation Austrans is Operation Twistlock, which will involve Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) staff from across the country. The operation is an extension of the normal work carried out by CVIU staff across the country every day.
About 70 CVIU staff, supported by vehicle safety officers from the NZ Transport Agency, Customs, Police field intelligence officers and motorway patrol staff, will saturate the Auckland area – which has more trucks, buses and taxis than the rest of New Zealand combined. Ministry of Justice bailiffs will also be on hand to deal with fine warrants.
Staff will focus on major roading corridors where there is the greatest concentration of heavy vehicles flowing through.
"We know that the majority of transport operators and drivers take their responsibilities seriously, but there are a few who don't, and it is those we will be targeting," says Assistant Commissioner Road Policing Dave Cliff.
Mr Cliff says the Auckland operation will focus on trucks moving from Auckland’s air and sea ports to ‘inland ports’, where containers are opened and goods reloaded for distribution. Trucks will be brought to compliance stations for a full inspection and mobile patrols will perform roadside inspections.
In addition, CVIU staff in other parts of the North Island and in the South Island will be running concurrent operations to ensure heavy vehicle safety compliance.
“These operations are not just about enforcement,” he says. “They are also an excellent opportunity to engage with individual drivers and heavy vehicle companies about how they can improve the safety of their operations, which ultimately benefits everyone."
Because of their large mass, trucks tend to be over-represented in serious crashes. Deaths from crashes involving trucks make up around 15% of the total road toll, while only about 6% of the total distance travelled on NZ roads is travelled by trucks.
During Operation Austrans last year, Police stopped and checked a total 11740 heavy vehicles with 2520 infringements issued for a range of offences. However, positives included no infringements issued for drugged or dangerous driving.
Media note: Assistant Commissioner Cliff will be at the Glasnevin Weigh Bridge (just north of Amberley on SH1) from 1.30pm-2.30pm today and available to speak to media. Please note that any heavy vehicles or drivers must be appropriately de-identified unless written consent is provided. This includes appropriate masking of identifying details, including vehicle registrations, company markings or any other details that could identify vehicles or individuals.
Operation "Twistlock" is named after a standardised rotating connector used to lock shipping containers into place on trucks, ships and trains.
Media contact: Ross Henderson, PNHQ Public Affairs, ph 021 192 2919; or Lisa-Marie Brooks, Canterbury District Communications Manager, ph 021 942 404.