Truckie calls for tougher laws on who can tow a caravan
JOHN Creenaune, a transport manager from Deniliquin, NSW, has called on the federal government to make all caravan users complete a driving course before hitting the highways.
The plea from the former SES volunteer comes after the lucky escape of a truck driver and the occupants of a car towing a caravan earlier this week.
Mr Creenaune, who is also a former Big Rigs contributor, said the driver of the car attempted to do a U-turn on the busy Riddoch Highway in front of an unloaded B-Double near Penola in South Australia.
In a desperate split-second bid to avoid a collision, he said the quick-thinking grain truck driver somehow managed to brake in time and 'jack-knifed' out of harm's way.
"It was a lucky escape, it was a 68.5t missile with nowhere to go," said John. "That could have been horrific."
John said he's seen too many accidents of this type in his 30 years within the transport industry and it's time for action from authorities.
As a long-time SES volunteer, he and his team were called out a number of times to rescue people from over-turned cars and caravans, which he puts down to a lack of experience.
More recently he said one of his co-workers also had a lucky escape when a car and caravan attempted to over-take the truck he was driving.
"The caravanner lost control of his articulated car and caravan doing over 100km/h," he said.
"When the caravan started to whip-lash the side of the truck and trailers, the quick-thinking truck driver slowed down, but the caravanner still lost control and ended up on the bull bar.
"He was pushed side-ways for 100m before coming to a halt, destroying the car and caravan. Luckily no one was killed."
John said he's dumbfounded that grey nomads are still able to buy a caravan, hook it up and set sail with no experience at all.
"Many cannot even back these things and have no idea what their capable of doing even going forward," he said.
"I urge all motoring and caravan groups of Australia, as well as the federal government and law enforcement agencies to bring in a law that when purchasing a caravan, they must apply to a driver course to learn about the dangers of caravanning.
"I guarantee 50% or more of truck drivers would have seen or been involved with caravanners doing something out of the ordinary at some point"
Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont said there is no evidence which links driver licencing against driver ability - caravan or otherwise.
"We always encourage education and training, and would be interested in looking at educational methods by which caravan users and truck users can co-exist on the road, and be better informed of possible dangers on the road," Mr Lamont told Big Rigs.
"We can all work better together to inform road users on better behaviour, truck drivers included. Quite simply one caravan accident is one accident too many, but licencing is not the answer though."
Mr Lamont said there are more and more driving training centres available for consumers to undertake towing training.
"These include Tow-Ed as well as most state motoring associations having some affiliation with a towing facility. Refresher courses are useful to brush up on skills for all drivers on the roads, not just the caravanning community."