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Acknowledging importance of ‘vital’ truck drivers

POLICE throughout the country, including Gisborne, are among those actively participating in Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

“We are really pleased to take part in this long-running, positive initiative that recognises the trucking industry for the valuable contribution made to New Zealand's economy,” said Inspector Mike Brooklands, the national manager of NZ Police's commercial vehicle safety team (CVST).

“When we engage with truck drivers it's normally to ensure they and their trucks are safe to operate on our roads.

“This week we are reminding truck drivers of their safety responsibilities but also acknowledging the important role they play.

“Road safety is a critical health and safety at work issue so by focusing on the safety of commercial vehicles (driver and truck) we are achieving safer roads for all road users.

“As a Road to Zero partner we want a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes.

Road to Zero is a road safety strategy aimed at reducing deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand's roads, cycleways and footpaths by 40 percent by 2030.

“Trucking companies have a duty of responsibility to ensure their vehicles are safe and not put their drivers and other road users at risk,” said Insp Brooklands.

“Truck drivers also have a responsibility themselves to check that the trucks and trailers are safe to operate by holding the correct RUC-COF and registration, and ensure loads comply with the permitted gross vehicle weight allowed and other load regulations.

“And, of course, they must have the appropriate class of driver's licence and the correct endorsements for dangerous goods carriage.”

While trucks are not involved in significantly more crashes per kilometre than other vehicles, truck crashes are more likely to be fatal (accounting for over 20 percent of road deaths).

CVST staff have been at CVST/weigh pit sites identified within 15 Truck Driver Appreciation Week locations.

Before giving out an appreciation gift bag, CVST staff conduct breath-screening tests, check logbooks and do level 3 inspections.

Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an initiative led by NZ Truck and Driver and supported by trucking industry partners Road Transport Association, My Trucking, National Road Carriers, Eastland Wood Council (EWC), Tairawhiti Road Transport and police.

“Truck drivers are vital to our industry, as they are for most of the industries in Tairawhiti,” EWC chairman Daniel Williams said.

“Recognising the awesome mahi (work) they are doing and continuously improving the safe methods in which they operate remain our priorities.”