Off-shift DIDO miners are ‘accident waiting to happen’
IT'S the off-shift miners who are the dangers on our Central Highlands roads, "hoofing it home" to the coast tired and with little regard for other road users.
That's the opinion from one pilot/escort driver in response to Wednesday's story about a DIDO who claimed not enough notice of wide and oversized loads on the Capricorn Hwy was leaving insufficient time to find a safe exit point.
SAB Pilots' Andrea Brooymans, who supplies wide and oversized load pilot and escort drivers across the Bowen Basin, said the first instinct of any driver should be to decelerate and prepare to get off the road.
"Our miner friend has not taken into account that if these oversized loads are removed from the roads, then he/she will be out of a job as most of them cart machinery destined for the mines and keep him employed," Ms Brooymans said.
"Pilot/escort drivers and police officers in escort vehicles are employed to ensure the safety of all those involved in the movement of oversized loads, and that includes the general public that travel on the same roads."
Ms Brooymans said drivers should keep an eye out for wig-wag lights - alternating flashing lights on the front of an escort vehicle that signify the following load is wider than their side of the road.
Oversized loads can be up to 9.5m in width, weighing between 150 and 180 tonnes. Drivers are limited to 80km.
Pilot/escort driver Rob Myers has "stories that would make your hair curl" about his job of three-and-a-half years, but called for driver education at a young age and common sense from drivers in the face of inherent danger.
"Most mine vehicles have a UHF radio in them, and if they turned on to channel 40 they would hear us coming," Mr Myers said.
"If there's an oversized load coming there's going to be a possible four or five vehicles with flashing lights and that's a fair indication you're not going to be able to keep screaming down the road at 100km. Drivers in the country generally do the right thing, but mine workers, they hoof out of there to get home to their wives or the pub for a beer and they only have one thing - tunnel vision.
"They're the accident waiting to happen."