UPDATED 5.00pm: A 43-YEAR-OLD Injune truck driver has been killed while trying to decouple a trailer at Butchers Hill, five kilometres west of Roma.
Local councillor and Injune resident Joy Denton said the father of three was a highly regarded and much loved member of the community.
“He was a great family man and community member,” she said.
“He did so much for so many community groups – the school, pony club – anything he was asked to help with he did.
“He ran a big business and was certainly not afraid of hard work.
“As a community we are absolutely gutted by the news. It’s a very sad day for Injune.”
The family have requested that the man’s name not be released at this time.
The incident happened at 5.15pm yesterday afternoon. A fellow truck driver witnessed the accident and attempted to free the man. He was taken to the Roma Hospital but died of his injuries.
It is the second fatal accident involving the decoupling of trailers in Queensland in the past 12 months.
In August last year the town of Rolleston mourned the death of 28-year-old Bryson Mayne who was killed in a cross-loading accident at the Gracemere Saleyards, outside Rockhampton.
Mr Mayne became lodged between a trailer and a semi-trailer while trying to crossload cattle.
A frustrated Livestock and Rural Transport Association president, David Scott, spoke to Queensland Country Life from the scene of the accident at Butchers Hill.
“It is still early in the investigation but it is sickening to know that we have had two staff from the transport industry killed on decoupling pads in the past 12 months,” he said.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has been under pressure to enable Type 2 road trains (three trailer configuration) access to the Roma Saleyards from western transport routes.
Currently Type 2 trucks must decouple at Butchers Hill before continuing on to the Roma Saleyards.
“It is very frustrating to know that we are just a few kilometres from the Roma Saleyards where there are safe and reliable facilities for drivers to decouple and crossload stock in a controlled environment,” Mr Scott said.
“We have been desperately trying to get the livestock operators access through town to the Roma Saleyards so they can access those facilities.
“We have the facilities there, they just won’t let us drive through and use them.”
Complicating the situation is the location of the Roma State College Junior Campus on the corner of the Warrego Highway in Roma.
Parents and community members have long argued that it was unsafe to bring heavy vehicles past the school. Earlier this year, a six-year-old girl had a lucky escape after stepping out in front of a cement truck on a pedestrian crossing. She was flown to Brisbane for treatment and made a full recovery.
MR Scott said Type 2 road trains should be allowed past the school, outside school hours.
“What we are proposing is that they are allowed through from 6pm to 6am and that way they won’t interfere with the school at all,” he said.
“It has worked in other locations such as Oakey and Toowoomba years ago and it could work here now.
“With the right management and practices put in place we could make it safe for everyone.”