Rogue truckies flouting law in Illawarra

Truckies are ignoring speed limits and weight restrictions across the Illawarra, recording 84 heavy vehicle penalty notices and 302 speeding fines worth $192,947 in the past six months.

Roads and Maritime Services data shows of the 84 penalty notices recorded in the six months to the end of November, 29 were for weight violations, with four classed as "severe", 15 "substantial" and 10 "minor".

The offences were recorded at locations including Mount Ousley, Kiama and Wollongong, while mobile police patrols and fixed cameras were used to record speeding offences.

Police have reacted with concern at the data, and Lake Illawarra highway patrol officer Sergeant Nicholas Park said it was particularly worrying because heavy vehicles could create an "additional level of trauma due to their size".

"It's a concern heavy vehicles are contributing highly to traffic offences," Sgt Park said.

"We're committed to trying to bring drivers before the courts where necessary."

He said main areas of concern included Five Islands Road, Spring Hill Road and Mount Ousley.

Yesterday marked the end of Operation Steel 5, a five-day long operation targeting heavy vehicle load restraints, vehicle standards and speed-limiter tampering in the greater Sydney region.

On Monday, a 57-year-old Eagle Vale truck driver was detected driving at more than 120km/h near Mittagong.

On Tuesday, the Hume Highway was closed for hours after a major crash near Campbelltown that killed a 57-year-old truckie.

As the operation wound down yesterday, police had investigated 496 trucks and 351 trailers, resulting in 321 defect notices issued covering 628 faults.

Police also issued 280 infringement notices to drivers, including four unrestrained loads inside shipping containers and 11 speed-limiter devices that had been tampered with.

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command inspector Phillip Brooks said truck drivers found tampering with the devices faced fines of more than $2000, while operators could be taken to court.

"Those numbers are a concern given the tasks those trucks undertake within the Sydney area," he said.

On Thursday, a Mercury reader captured images of a dangerously overloaded truck on the Princes Highway near Unanderra.

Images show a large object precariously sticking out of the vehicle's back trailer.

The police are understood to be investigating.

But Australian Trucking Association NSW manager Jodie Broadbent said police statistics did not reflect the majority of truck drivers and operators.

"You'll find the statistics are skewed to a higher range because companies targeted are recidivist offenders," Mrs Broadbent said.

"They've come to the attention of enforcement authorities."

She said the association supported police doing more to clamp down on truckies "trying to obtain a commercial advantage over those who do the right thing".

"The ones doing the right thing, let them get on with moving freight, and the ones doing the wrong thing, penalise them and set them on the right track.

"It is a burden . . . [but] it's something that is part of your business.

"If you handle food you have to make sure you handle it properly or you go out of business. It's the same with our business."

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