Truck fire spate sparks investigation by national regulator

A spate of recent, high profile truck fires, including two on the Hume Highway, has sparked an investigation by the national regulator.

KEY POINTS:

  • There have been two major truck fires near Yass since November and 15 nationally so far, this year.
  • The national regulator is investigating the cause of the truck fires.
  • "One truck fire is too many," the regulator's manager for vehicle safety and performance, Peter Austin, said.

There have been 15 truck fires already this year, according to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's (NHVR) manager for vehicle safety and performance, Peter Austin.

UP IN FLAMES: The truck that caught fire 1km north of the Yass Valley off ramp on the Hume Highway, in January. Photo: Andrew Hennell.

UP IN FLAMES: The truck that caught fire 1km north of the Yass Valley off ramp on the Hume Highway, in January. Photo: Andrew Hennell.

One of those closed the Hume Highway in both directions, by the Yass Valley off-ramp, on January 11 (pictured).

Luckily, the 64-year-old driver, from Victoria, managed to pull over and unhitch the trailer from the truck, engulfed in flames, before calling the emergency services.

The vehicle was carrying groceries bound for Coles Supermarkets, including aerosols, detergents and bleaches.

One truck fire is too many ... You put that truck on a main freight route and it's a major road safety issue.

Peter Austin

The cause is yet to be reported.

The second truck fire was in November 2018, at the Mundanoon Rest Area on the Hume Highway at Jerrawa. 

The B-double was carrying beer and foodstuff.

The driver also escaped uninjured.

However, it took four fire brigades to extinguish the fire.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's investigation will look into the causes behind the truck fires and the number of truck fires per year on roads nationally.

Mr Austin said one truck fire was one too many.

"You put that truck on a main freight route and it's a major road safety issue," Mr Austin said. 

"Anything we can do to get that number down from what it is currently is a good safety step for us."

Mr Austin said the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was working with local fire and transport agencies, police and insurance companies to "connect the dots".​

  • Truck fires can be reported to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's confidential reporting line on 1800 931 785 or email vehiclestandards@nhvr.gov.au