The recent grounding of all Cootes’ fuel tankers for major defects should be a wake-up call to all fleet operators. It appears that despite previous fleet groundings last October, Cootes still have not addressed the need to put in place proper and adequate maintenance programs and schedules.

To have 25 fuel tankers out of 32 inspected, fail a vehicle safety check is clear evidence that this company is either totally incompetent or is playing with dice that it will get away with short cuts in order to save costs.

The trouble is this is a high-risk strategy that puts peoples’ lives at risk. Proof of this is that two people have already died when a Cootes tanker exploded in flames in Sydney last year.  In order to save a few dollars, Cootes are risking the lives of their own drivers, other road users and the general public.

It is a perfect example of false economics to say that if we cut corners on fleet maintenance, we will save money for the company and no-one will know.  This attitude ignores the reality that dollars save through shoddy or poor maintenance will be lost many times over when a major accident again occurs, or when the inspectors ground entire fleets for extended periods of time, or when Cootes faces hefty fines and possibly even a loss of accreditation for flaunting not just the rules but also common sense and sound business practice too.

We at State Transport have a strong corporate ethical view on the subject of fleet maintenance and place a high priority on regular, professional and proper maintenance of every one of our trucks. Even though we do not transport fuel and LPG, we consider it vital that, even for ordinary low-risk freight, each and every one of our trucks should at all times be safe on the road. We owe it to our drivers, our customers and the general public to ensure that something as basic as a road-worthy truck is as fundamental to our business as is the need to guarantee a prompt and efficient delivery of our customers’ freight.  How can we guarantee this if we cannot guarantee the safety of our trucks? We cannot and we don’t.

Transport safety, starting with vehicle maintenance, is fundamental to our business and an essential part of the promise we give to our customers – now and in the future.