TRAGIC: A truck driver died in a horror smash in Victoria in early November.
TRAGIC: A truck driver died in a horror smash in Victoria in early November. Picture: Mark Stewart

MPs raise barrier safety questions

THE death of a Clifton Springs truck driver on the Princes Highway has drawn attention to the use of wire barriers and whether they do more harm than good, with three state Liberal MPs issuing statements against the safety devices in the hours after the crash.

The 38-year-old man died instantly when the semi-trailer he was driving flipped after hitting the barrier in the early hours of November 4 at Werribee South in Victoria.

While the MPs criticised the safety devices, police - who are still investigating the cause of the roll-over - said the barriers installed by the Transport Accident Commission potentially prevented further carnage.

Opposition assistant spokesman for regional Victoria Richard Riordan questioned if the crash was avoidable.

"At this time we feel incredibly sad for the driver's family but as a community we must know, was this accident avoidable and do modifications need to be made to ensure this type of accident does not happen again?” he said.

Mr Riordan said the barriers were increasingly causing concern for country road users, who found it harder to avoid road debris, and for emergency personnel, who reportedly took longer to get to road crashes.

"Emergency service personnel have continually reported taking longer to get to road trauma victims and accidents as they are often having to drive kilometres further to access the other side of a road,” he said.

He also claimed that the government was using funds meant for the maintenance of roads for the upkeep of the barriers.

Western Victoria region MP Bev McArthur described the driver as a "victim of the Labor Government's dangerous wire rope barriers”.

She called on Minister for Roads, Road Safety and TAC Jaala Pulford to seek an alternative safety measure that did not "endanger more road users”.

"Clearing roadside vegetation would be a start,” she said.

"After all, roadsides should be safe places, not wildlife corridors or conservation zones.”

Shadow minister for rural roads Roma Britnell said when installed correctly, the barriers could save lives.

”But there is strong evidence right across the state of areas where barriers have been installed incorrectly, effectively fencing people in with the potential for fatal consequences,” she said.

"The auditor-general is conducting an audit of the wire rope barrier program and Daniel Andrews and Labor must commit to implementing all recommendations that come from that report.”

Ms Pulford accused her opponents of a "disgusting and desperate” attempt to "try and score cheap political points from this tragedy”.

"While this incident is stillbeing investigated and the cause of the accident is not yet known, it is disgusting and desperate that the Liberals have decided to try and score cheap political points from this tragedy,” Ms Pulford said.