Bus fleets targeted in NSW operation

Although the safety of a fleet should be the main consideration for managers, a recent NSW bus crackdown has found some fleet managers are neglecting their responsibilities.

Across Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra fleets, over 200 buses have been inspected for defects and drivers checked for drugs and alcohol use as part of Operation Hanly 3. In the first two initiatives close to 50 defect notices were issued to fleet managers.

The multi-agency crackdown - including the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce, NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Service - issued 91 defect notices, with two considered 'major'. Many of the problems discovered were related to oil and fuel leaks, ancillary equipment and body/chassis faults.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith explained bus fleets need to be safe as many carry school children and the general public.

"Defective vehicles can lead to crashes and result in deaths on our roads. Buses that are not up to scratch and drivers who fail to comply with safe practices will be identified and dealt with," he said.

Statistics suggest heavy vehicle fatalities are down 21 per cent since the launch of the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce in 2012, but more education and law enforcement is always necessary to ensure safety.

Roads and Maritime Director of Safety and Compliance, Peter Wells, said most buses are inspected twice a year to ensure high standards don't drop.

"We've been working closely with NSW Police to target bus companies to ensure safety and compliance of fleets and this will continue," he explained.

"Our aim is to inspect as many fleets as possible and identify areas where improvements can be made. We will work with the industry and individual companies to ensure safe practices are in place."

To make sure that fleet history is accurate for authorities and vehicles are up-to-date with services, fleet software could be a useful tool. Drivers and managers will receive reminders and updates to ensure essential maintenance is carried out to meet compliance levels.