25 Jul 2010

No link between truck driver pay and safety - Forum

1:28 pm on 25 July 2010

The Road Transport Forum says the Labour Party's claims about a link between low truck driver wages and road safety are not supported by the facts.

Labour's transport safety spokesperson, Darien Fenton, says low wages are forcing truck drivers to work excessive hours and overload their trailers to make ends meet.

She says driver wages are set by clients, such as the country's two supermarket chains, which squeezes truck company employees as well as owner-drivers.

The Party has launched a petition calling for an inquiry into the issue.

Road Transport Forum spokesman Ken Shirley says there is nothing to back up the party's assertions. He says working hours and loads are governed by legislation and the police commercial vehicle investigation unit is not reporting any increased concern.

Mr Shirley says there has been a 200% drop in trucking related deaths over the past 10 years.

National Distribution Union spokesperson Karl Andersen says while trucking safety has improved in recent years, there is still, on average, one death per week from truck related road accidents.