By Brendan Rees
Truck drivers are driving at “frightening” speeds through red lights, Casey Councillor Amanda Stapleton says.
Speaking during a council meeting held on 5 September, Cr Stapleton said the Cranbourne community was concerned about trucks running red lights at major intersections of Cranbourne.
“This is long over-due. I’ve witnessed some very, very scary driving,” she said.
Casey council voted unanimously to seek police assistance in monitoring major roads in Cranbourne, particularly the corner of South Gippsland Highway and Sladen Street, High Street shopping precinct, and intersection of Berwick-Cranbourne Road and Casey Fields Boulevard intersection.
Cr Stapleton said she valued the work of truck drivers but a “very clear message” was needed improve road safety.
“Whilst I’m not generalising of all truck drivers, I’ve seen enough that’s a really great concern and the community really are concerned as well. I’m just wondering if there’s any reason why we don’t think we can engage with the police over this,” she said.
Cr Stapleton said more trucks needed to be monitored as she witnessed a double low loader speeding through a red light on the corner of Berwick Cranbourne Road and Casey Fields Boulevard.
“I was stopped at a red light, and this truck didn’t slow down. He just kept going. It’s so frightening. The next one I saw was just a truck coming down South Gippsland Highway pass the race track and it went straight through a red light down the hill,” she said.
“Can you imagine if he ploughed into the oncoming traffic which could have happened so easily. It’s about our safety. The outcome should it go wrong could be disastrous.”
She said more trucks were travelling from Gippsland through Cranbourne.
“We also got lots of trucks in the area because of the development. So it’s about monitoring those trucks and making sure they’re obeying our road rules.”
“The one thing we’ve been trying to do on High Street for example is lower the speed limit down to 40km/h. VicRoads has assured that they won’t put any money behind it. They want us to invest the $120,000 to get those shopping strip speed limits during certain times. It’s VicRoads’ responsibility,” she said.
Casey Highway Patrol Sergeant Pat McGavigan said speeding was one of the major contributors to road trauma and would target motorists with the use of laser speed detectors and mobile mode radar speed detectors.
“We also have input in the rostering of mobile speed cameras to deter and detect speeding vehicles. When targeting speeding traffic, we target all traffic, trucks included,” he said.
“We recently targeted the South Gippsland Highway near the scene of the double fatality as speed was a contributor to this collision.”
“When looking through the aiming reticle of a laser speed detector we look at all vehicles not just trucks or just cars.”
Sgt McGavigan said the Highway Patrol wanted to stop road trauma, but could not be everywhere all the time, and needed the support of community to obey road rules.
“Many vehicles are taking the risk and running red lights including trucks. If this is observed by police, we will intercept and prosecute for the offence,” he said.
Sgt McGavigan said failing to obey a red light was currently $396 and three demerit points.
“Like speed, we do not discriminate on the offender’s vehicle – truck or car – we will enforce,” he said.
“A few extra minutes travel by slowing down to the speed limit or stopping for a red light could stop road trauma or as a minimum save a person money – better spent than donating it to the government through fines.
Sgt McGavigan asked people to obey speed limits, red lights and other road rules for everyone’s safety.
“In Casey PSA, there have been eight lives lost on the road in 2017. Eight people have died and many more affected by their involvement in road trauma. For Victoria, it is 180 lives as of 12 September 2017. We aim for zero,” he said.
Cranbourne police Acting Senior Sergeant David Fyfe said road safety was an important component of ensuring a safer community.
“On any public road within the City of Casey, any time of the day or night, motorists may be subject to random breath testing. Safer roads lead to a reduced toll from fatal motor collisions,” he said.