Statement on behalf of family of truck driver killed near Truro

TWU SA/NT BRANCH, 20 August 2019

The wife and family of a truck driver killed recently in a head-on collision with another truck near Truro has appealed for a greater focus on safety to stop the high numbers of drivers being killed.

Miliana Giles, who lost her husband Brenden on August 8th after the collision during a dust storm, said truck drivers should be able to do their jobs without feeling the pressure of making a deadline.

“Brenden was a loyal husband, father, friend and colleague. He had been a driver for most of his working life, starting in the job when he was just 16, and he loved his job. He was very conscientious about safety but he knew that many truck drivers are forced to focus on making the deadline and delivering the load. Drivers should be allowed to do their jobs safely and come home to their families. There are too many drivers being killed on the roads. I’d like the blame game to stop. Drivers are copping the blame and fines for rules which put all the focus only on the drivers. It just piles more pressure on and makes the job even more dangerous,” she said.

TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary Ian Smith said Brenden Giles had been a member of the union since 1998 and was a well loved and respected colleague and friend. “Our hearts go out to Miliana and her family who are facing a tough time ahead. Truck drivers should not be forced to sacrifice themselves to get a job done. We would like to see the companies at the top of the transport supply chain being held to account for the safe delivery of their goods. We would like to see the pressure lifted from drivers and transport operators so that they can do their jobs, maintain their trucks and operate safely and in a sustainable manner. In too many cases today safety is being cut so that big retailers, manufacturers and oil companies can make profits.

That isn’t fair and it is costing lives,” he said.

The TWU has been pushing for an independent road safety watchdog which can investigate risks to safety in trucking and hold wealthy companies at the top to account.

According to Safe Work Australia, of 83 the workers killed since the start of the year, 28 were transport workers, by far the highest for any profession. In the last three years over 600 people have been killed in truck crashes.

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