CRIME Stoppers have launched a confidential reporting hotline to improve heavy vehicle safety.
Transport minister Michael McCormack said the national confidential reporting line would allow heavy vehicle safety concerns to be reported to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) who would then assess the complaint.
"The confidential reporting line will protect the identity of the reporting individual throughout all stages of the process," McCormack said.
"Anyone with a safety concern can call 1800 931 785, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Crime Stoppers chief executive Trevor O’Hara said the hotline was set up as a resource for the heavy vehicle industry rather than a way for the general public to complain about trucks.
“This is not the number to call to air public gripes or complaints about tailgating or air horns,” he said.
“We do encourage the community to report criminal activity but the best way to do that is to call their local police or report via Police Link or Crime Stoppers on our 1800 333 000 line.”
Australian Trucking Association chairman Geoff Crouch welcomed the establishment of a new reporting line that allows truck drivers and operators to confidentially report safety breaches.
“This reporting line is welcome news for the trucking industry, as safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.
“Many employees and operators, if pressed to act illegally, are worried about losing their contract so they are afraid to report breaches.
“The knowledge that all reports will remain confidential should encourage more people to speak out and stand up for safety, without the fear of being punished.
“We know it happens. In 2012, for example, 17 per cent of trucking companies reported that their customers were likely to impose a financial penalty for late arrivals – a clear breach of the law.
“The first step businesses need to take if they are pressured to break the law is to talk to their customers about its requirements. The ATA master code of practice will provide customers and industry with clear guidance on how to comply,” he said.
NHVR chief executive Sal Petroccitto said the hotline will be operated by an independent third party.
“NHVR has partnered with Crime Stoppers Queensland to take advantage of its expertise in receiving confidential calls and ensure they are processed appropriately,” Mr Petroccitto said.
“I encourage individuals to take advantage of this service to contribute to the safety of our industry without fear of recrimination.”
Under the heavy vehicle national law everyone in the heavy vehicle industry has a responsibility to prevent or minimise potential injury, danger or loss to themselves and others by ensuring their transport activities are safe.
The hotline is intended to improve safety in the industry by allowing people to report appropriate information which may include:
- An incident or situation which affects the safety of a heavy vehicle or its operation
- A procedure, practice or condition which endangers the safety of a heavy vehicle driver, their passengers, other road users or the community
- A procedure, practice or condition which leads to non-compliance with Heavy Vehicle National Law.
The Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Hotline was funded by the Australian government through a $250,000 grant from the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.
An NHVR spokesman said the hotline had received about 30 calls in the first week of operation.
“This is an encouraging result and shows the support for such a service to improve safety across the industry,” he said.
“Whether you operate a heavy vehicle in the Scenic Rim or have a touch point with the heavy vehicle industry as part of the supply chain, you can use the reporting line to report potential unsafe practices so it can be assessed and appropriate action taken.”
Calls to the reporting line are free from any landline in Australia and some mobile providers.