Cowboy truck drivers and rogue transport companies are on notice after a blitz found the majority of trucks on inner-west roads pose a safety risk.
A recent joint Victoria Police and VicRoads operation focusing on heavy vehicles randomly intercepted 161 trucks at a site in Millers Road, Brooklyn.
Of these, 85 per cent failed their inspection. A total of 63 were detected as unroadworthy, two were unregistered and a further 47 infringement notices were issued for load restraint and other offences.
Operation Aerodyne identified five companies that will be monitored by Transport Safety Services via further investigations.
Westgate highway patrol unit commander Jason Templar said the four-day operation showed too many operators are taking risky decisions that could lead to tragedy.
“When we mix heavy vehicles and vulnerable road users, we need to know people are doing the right thing,” he said.
“We know they are under pressure to be on the road and delivering with smaller and smaller time frames, but there is still a responsibility to include safety and obey the road rules.”
Mr Templar said the operation was spurred by a recent series of fatalities in the inner-west involving trucks.
Further blitzes will be rolled out in various locations over coming months.
Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson said it was “totally unacceptable” for any driver to be operating a heavy vehicle that isn’t 100 per cent safe and roadworthy.
“When a driver becomes aware of a potential safety or roadworthy issue with their vehicle, they need to attend to it immediately,” he said.
“As an industry group, the VTA encourages every member to make safety its main priority, starting with the roadworthiness of their fleet.”
Mr Anderson said the vast majority of operators do the right thing and regularly maintain their vehicles.
Maribyrnong Truck Action Group secretary Martin Wurt said the blitz was well overdue given the volume of freight traffic coming through Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay.
“It’s incredibly alarming to think this many unroadworthy trucks are travelling down our residential streets, past schools and past people on bikes,” he said.
Mr Wurt said the fact that almost 40 per cent of intercepted trucks were deemed unroadworthy showed a clear failure of the regulatory system.
“We have a bunch of cowboys running through the area and we would like to see a crackdown,” he said.
“We would love to see annual check-ups on heavy vehicles like they have in other states and more VicRoads patrols along these routes as well.”