Were you affected by the traffic on the Sydney Motorway on the city bound lanes of the M5 East recently? There have been claims that an underqualified foreign driver on a 457 visa was to blame.
A B-Double recently brought the motorway to a standstill because the driver thought the vehicle may be too high for the tunnel.He pulled off on the city-bound lane abruptly and wasn’t able to reverse the truck out of the way in traffic.
The incident caused delays in traffic because the driver had trouble manoeuvring the truck out of the way.
The double trailer partially jack-knife and caused chaos on the motorway.
In an article on DailyTelegraph.com.au it was noted that some witnesses said it was obvious the driver and passenger of the truck had limited truck driving skills.
The article stated,
Witnesses told 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley that it was obvious the driver, and his offsider in the passenger seat, had little truck driving skills.
A caller to 2GB said the drivers were in the country on controversial 457 Visas — Australian bosses use the visa to sponsor skilled overseas workers to temporarily plug gaps when skill shortages hit a particular industry.
The truck’s crew also appeared not to know how to detach the trailer from the prime mover to make it easier to move.
It is understood that a RMS inspector sent to investigate the incident, was forced to jump behind the wheel to move the rig and RMS officials were called on the help detach the trailer.
The article went on to state that the the truck had stopped at the entrance of the tunnel around 11:00am but it was more than an hour later that the truck was moved. Even once the road was reopened around midday, traffic delays ensued.
The Daily Telegraph also attempted to contact the company involved at its SA headoffice. The company declined to comment on the status of its drivers or the incident.
The Transport Workers Union also has its eye on the company for past issues relating to driver pay and conditions.
The union also expressed concerns that foreign workers were being used acrossed the long haul transport industry, with many of them possessing poor driving skills. Unscrupulous firms hire foreign workers so they can cut wages and increase time spent on the road without a break, the TWU said.
The writer reminded readers that drivers of over-height vehicles in NSW who blatantly ignore the tunnel warning signs face a $2200 fine. They also risk losing six demerit points off their licence. The truck can also be grounded by suspending its registration for three months.
Although this incident may seem strange, these types of incidents occur at least 50 times annually involving over-height trucks blocking traffic because they are too high for tunnels or bridges.