Truckie tailgates cops

“I HATE to say this, but you are one of the types of people we loathe on the roads,” Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told a truck driver who was in court yesterday because he drove his big rig dangerously on the Bruce Highway.

“Being tailgated by a truck is terrifying... you were lucky it was a police vehicle you pushed off the road and not a car driven by an elderly person of a P-plater or you may have been here charged with dangerous operation causing death.”

Gympie Magistrates Court heard John George Uitz, 47, was heading south from Rockhampton in his prime mover when he drove up behind an unmarked police car.

The police vehicle was carrying members of the Roadside Drug Testing Unit who said the truck was quick to catch up, even though they were doing the 100kmh speed limit.

Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said the driver attempted to overtake the police car but had to pull back in because of oncoming traffic. Uitz then switched on all the lights and put his headlights on high beam, blinding the officers' vision.

The court heard Uitz went to overtake them again, this time running them off the road when he pulled back in front. If officers didn't brake heavily and take evasive action to avoid a collision, the truck's trailer would have hit the police vehicle, Snr Const Manns said.

“When questioned about his manner of driving, (Uitz) said it was done out of impatience and he didn't know it was a police vehicle,” she said.

“If it was a member of the public in that vehicle instead of police officers, the (chance) of a crash would have been high.

“It was irresponsible to drive a prime mover this way on a road where countless injuries and fatalities have occurred.”

In his defence, solicitor Leanne Gordon said Uitz had been driving heavy vehicles for 25 years and had a long and successful work history with only minor traffic history. She said tests for alcohol and drugs returned negative.

“Any truck driver who comes before me on a charge of dangerous operation of their vehicle will have their licence disqualified,” Mrs Baldwin said.

“You come before me again and the disqualification will be quite substantial and will probably end your career.”

Uitz, of Golflink Circuit, Gympie, had his licence disqualified for one month and was placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months with the condition he attend a heavy vehicle driving course.

Gympie Times

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