Over 25 vessels and more than 400 vehicles were checked this week as part of an operation targeting heavy vehicle and marine safety around Portland and Portland’s coastline.
Victoria Police, including the Heavy Vehicle Unit, Operations Response Unit, Technology Enforcement Support Unit, Portland and Hamilton Highway Patrols and local Portland police, along with Australian Border Force (ABF), the Department of Home Affairs, Maritime Safety Victoria, Victorian Fisheries Authority and VicRoads were in involved in Operation Crossway between 26-27 February.
The purpose of the operation was to ensure heavy vehicle operators and associated companies are complying with the relevant road safety legislation, as well as ensuring the safety and security of the dock precinct was maintained through a range of cargo checks.
During the operation 61 heavy vehicles checks were conducted with authorities looking for traffic, fatigue and compliance breaches.
Pleasingly no trucks were taken off the road, however overall when including other vehicles checked 57 vehicles were found to be unroadworthy.
Police conducted 86 preliminary breath tests and performed 70 preliminary oral fluid drug tests with no one found to be over the limit or drug driving.
Over 45 penalty notices were issued for a range of traffic and maritime offences.
One man was located and arrested for an outstanding warrant. He has been charged with use communication device to harass related matters and bailed to appear before Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court on 12 May.
Authorities, using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, scanned over 4300 vehicles during the two day operation uncovering 17 unlicensed drivers, 14 unregistered vehicles and 34 vehicles of interest to the Sheriff’s office.
ABF officers and detector dogs were also on site carrying out checks of port access passes, assessing container security and integrity, and conducting risk assessments of containers departing the waterfront.
Western Region Inspector Craig Darlow said the heavy vehicle transport sector had a huge role to play in road safety in Victoria.
“The majority of drivers and businesses take their safety responsibilities seriously, unfortunately there are few who don’t and it’s those drivers and operators that police are targeting,” he said.
“The Portland dock precinct is naturally a focus area for all the agencies involved in Operation Crossway, as it’s one of the main hubs in the west of the state for heavy vehicle activity.
“We’re still seeing behaviour such as fatigue, speeding, illicit drug use and unroadworthy vehicles which remain the biggest contributors to serious collisions involving heavy vehicles.
“Previously we’ve seen an increase in the number of lives lost due to collisions involving heavy vehicles.
“An unsafe truck, a driver willing to take unnecessary risks and an employer happy to engage in unsafe work practices puts an enormous amount of people in the community at risk.
“This operation is not just about enforcement but also hopefully means that by highlighting the fact we are actively targeting this activity, it prevents some drivers and operators from taking these risks.”
ABF Regional Commander, Craig Palmer said the ABF are vigilant in protecting the integrity of the Australian border.
“The ABF have a vital role in safe guarding waterfront environments from criminal infiltration and activity”, Commander Palmer said.
“Our trained officers and dedicated detector dog teams, undertake a variety of compliance examinations and activity alongside our multi-agency partners”.
“The ABF’s Border Watch program also plays an important role in uncovering illegal activity at the border and the ABF encourages any individual or group that identifies suspicious border activity to report it to Border Watch. Information can be reported anonymously”.