According to the Canberra Times, evidence of events surrounding the anonymous driver and his employer, a Queanbeyan-based trucking company, was presented to an inquiry in Canberra late last week.
The Motor Accidents Authority of NSW has been investigating safety and work practices after a series of truck crashes and surfacing reports of truckers relying on drugs to deliver their loads.
The driver and his family were too frightened to appear because of possible repercussions, so the Transport Workers Union spoke on the man's behalf. The driver’s hours showed he regularly worked some days for up to 23 hours at a time. In one week, he worked 40 hours in two days, and only slept for about two hours. The inquiry also found that he was not paid for loading or unloading, making his employer’s log books false.
The TWU submitted a statement on the state of the trucking industry, saying a majority of drivers and owner-operators were in dire straits, facing debt and reduced pay. Trucks were involved in 10 percent of all serious accidents in the country, with 20 percent of those involving death or serious injury.
For more on these hearings, see "Aussie Truckers Reveal Corrupt Working Conditions," 7/27/00, and "Trucking Down Under Dubbed 'Sweatshops,'" 8/1/00.