BP grounds its fleet across Victoria yesterday as police start to investigate a crash that killed a 33 year old mother, her four-year-old boy and a 67-year-old driver of the second vehicle. As the second major event of a Fuel Tanker killing people within the last 12 months the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has to more closely scrutinise Fuel industry practices for its compliance under the Chain of Responsibility Laws in Australia. The recent changes by the National Transport Commission that will also see full maintenance records form part of the prosecution and investigation process.
In the recent Lennon’s case last week the magistrate handed down record fines of 1.3 Million to the Directors of Lennon’s Transport and candidate focused on the lack of Systems, Policies, Procedures, Tools and Accredited training of staff to meet its CoR obligations under the National Heavy Vehicle Laws. www.nhvr.gov.au
In the event yesterday that killed 3 people the trailer of the BP petrol tanker became detached while rounding a bend, rolling on top of one of the cars and crushing it.
Witnesses said the truck was travelling normally before the trailer came off.
“The tanker uncoupled from the tri-axle primary vehicle, the trailer has then crossed on to the wrong side of the road and collided head on with two vehicles,” Det Insp Bernie Rankin told reporters at the scene near Wodonga.
“This is just a catastrophic situation where people innocently driving along a highway have been confronted with a situation that was impossible for them to have any control over or take any evasive action.”
A 33-year-old Allans Flat woman and her four-year-old son died in the accident on Thursday morning along with a 67-year-old Yackandandah woman in the other car.
Rankin said the trailer and truck will be examined to determine what caused the crash.
BP said that as a precaution it had recalled its entire Victorian trucking fleet and would co-operate with any investigation.
“We are deeply saddened that there have been loss of life,” a BP statement said.
No fuel spilled out of the tanker but the petrol had to be funnelled into another truck before it could be lifted off the crushed vehicle.
The truck driver, a local man in his 50s, is assisting police with their inquiries.
The deaths take Victoria’s road toll to 153, eight more than at this time last year.