Truck driver loses licence over incident caught on dashcam on Adelaide's South Eastern Freeway

By Daniel Keane | September 27, 2019

Dramatic footage has emerged of a near miss involving an out-of-control truck hurtling through one of Adelaide’s most notorious intersections, narrowly avoiding a turning vehicle.

A Victorian truck driver has lost his licence over the incident, which occurred on the South Eastern Freeway about 5:30am on Wednesday and was captured on dashcam footage provided to the ABC.

Key points:

  • The footage shows smoke billowing from the truck’s brakes as it travels down the South Eastern Freeway
  • A 24-year-old driver from Melbourne will face court over the incident
  • It comes just days after another heart-stopping moment on the same major road

The latest video — which comes just days after another hair-raising incident on the same major road — shows the B-double in the left lane on the down track with smoke pouring from its wheels after losing its brakes.

Moments later, the driver is then forced to cross lanes, running a red light.

Police said the driver, a 24-year-old from Manor Lakes near Werribee in outer Melbourne, failed to select a low gear on the descent, resulting in his brakes overheating.

They said the incident occurred before the lower arrester bed on the Freeway — but the driver then failed to use the arrester bed and continued down the hill.

Unable to stop, the truck runs a red light at the intersection with Cross Road and Portrush Road, coming within metres of another turning truck.

“It was only by luck that he avoided colliding with other motorists,” police said in a statement.

The footage shows the truck eventually coming to a halt down Glen Osmond Road.

In another recent incident, a B-double driver made a heart-stopping recovery after the truck teetered and threatened to topple.

Earlier this month, another driver crashed his truck into six cars at the base of the freeway when his primary brakes failed, and the intersection has been the scene of several fatal accidents.

In 2010, 42-year-old John Posnakidis was waiting at a bus stop on the South Eastern Freeway when he was killed by an out-of-control semitrailer that ploughed into him.

In 2014, 41-year-old truck driver James Venning died when he slammed into a wall at the intersection of Cross Road and Glen Osmond Road at the beginning of the freeway.

Giant net should be considered, association says

The latest incident has led to police reporting the 24-year-old driver for failing to select a low gear, driving dangerously and running a red light.

He was issued with an on-the-spot six-month driving ban and will appear in court at a later date.

South Australian Road Transport Association executive director Steve Shearer said the incident was “disappointing” that “a small number of operators” were doing the wrong thing.

“They’re supposed to slow down well before the descent begins [and] get the truck into the appropriate low gear,” he said.

“They should only have to make very limited use of their brake coming down on occasions, to control the gearing of the truck.”

Mr Shearer said the incident strengthened the case for a third arrester bed at the base of the Freeway.

“What we think we still need is the final safety net at the bottom — a third arrester bed or they’ve got new technology now. It’s a net that pops up, then it catches the track,” he said.

“But you need to clear the traffic out of the way.

“The traffic control centre should be able to use its technology, spot a truck that’s in trouble when they can hit the big red button, clear the intersection at the bottom and then that truck driver would be able to access the arrester bed.”