A MAN has been arrested after he was allegedly caught driving a speed-altered truck while armed and high on drugs during a major five-day police operation targeting heavy-vehicles across Sydney.
Operation Hydra, headed by the Joint Heavy Vehicle taskforce, was activated on Monday in response to a spike in heavy-vehicle crashes, fire and other non-compliance issues.
On Thursday, taskforce officers inspected vehicles at a freight courier in Warwick Farm where a truck driver allegedly tested positive to a prohibited drug.
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The 48-year-old Cameron Park man was also allegedly found to be in possession of drugs, drug implements, and a prohibited weapon.
In addition, the truck’s speed-limiter had allegedly been tampered with to allow the vehicle to travel faster than the heavy-vehicle speed limit of 100km/h.
Police say the driver is yet to be charged as investigations into the matter continue.
NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said a speed-tampered truck driven by an allegedly drug-affected driver was a deadly combination.
“This is why the work of the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce is critical for NSW road users,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
“In identifying this driver, we have effectively prevented either a serious injury of fatal crash.
“Those involved in the heavy-vehicle industry need to ensure they are effectively preventing such issues rather than waiting for the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce to arrive at a depot.
“Everyone has a role in road safety.”
Out of the other 183 trucks and trailers inspected at both Warick Farm and Ingleburn on Thursday, 36 were defected for 105 issues relating to equipment, body and chassis, oil and fuel leaks, wheels and tyres, suspension, and other faults.
A further 18 trucks were subjected to an Engine Control Module Download (ECMD), three of which were found to have been altered to allow speeds over 100km/h.
On Friday, five out of seven trucks subjected to an ECMD at a freight courier in Sydney’s south-west were also found to have been tampered with – one of which had allegedly been increased to run at 120km/h.
Peter Wells, Director of Safety and Compliance for the NSW Roads and Maritime Service, said while these results were of concern, it was pleasing officers had noted a dramatic change at the vehicle transport operator’s depot.
“The benefits of previous compliance operations are starting to deliver results,” Mr Wells said.
“Officers who reviewed the companies’ operations yesterday noted their fatigue, speed, drug and height-detection systems were at a high standard, which is a significant benefit for both the industry, and road safety in NSW.
“This outcome is proof that our Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce focus is working to correct system failures, in the hope heavy-vehicle crashes are prevented on our roads.
“We will continue to work with police on similar compliance and enforcement operations to control and disrupt this dangerous behaviour.
“We will also be re-visiting distribution centres to meet with the businesses’ executives to immediately address serious compliance breaches including systematic fatigue and load restraint issues which were uncovered during the operation,” Mr Wells said.