Australian toll road operator Transurban has been slammed for its “terrible” and “reckless” take on truck safety after a firestorm erupted on social media over a tweet about driver safety.
Posted to the official Transurban Twitter account on Monday, the widely shared tweet purported to encourage drivers to be safe and aware around trucks, with the caption: “Be seen. Because trucks can’t always see you”.
Instead, a video attached to the tweet that shows a collision between a truck and a silver hatchback on an Australian motorway became the source of controversy among viewers who pointed out that the truck driver appeared to be entirely at fault.
Hundreds of people were quick to point out that the truck driver had pulled out in front of the car, leaving it no room or time to react in the moments before the crash.
— Transurban (@Transurban) May 14, 2023
“If the truck driver was driving in an appropriate manner, the collision wouldn’t have occurred,” Parke Lawyers director Jim Parke tweeted.
“It’s broad daylight, the weather is fine. The driver of the SUV couldn’t have been expected to do anything more.”
Mike Williams said the driver of the truck needed to learn to use its mirrors.
“That should never have happened,” Mr Williams said.
“(The truck driver) probably focused on the car right in front of him that he was far too close to as well.
“Not good driving from what should be a professional.”
Meanwhile, Terrence Carter queried whether the registration should be provided to police.
“This is textbook reckless driving and failure to stop at the scene of an accident,” Mr Carter said.
That tweet triggered a response from the Transurban account, which wrote in reply: “The driver of the truck did stop and assisted.”
Further stoking the flames, the toll road operator replied to another tweet with a meme captioned: “This is fine”.
Replying to the inflammatory tweet, the Transurban account said on Tuesday afternoon that they were “sorry”, and that they “should have done that better.”
“Truck blind spots are a big risk,” the Transurban account said.
“We have eyes on the road 24/7 and see incidents like this, so raising awareness (correctly) is important for everyone to be safe.”
The online backlash was so severe that Twitter employed its recently released footnote feature to provide context to the tweet.
“The truck appears to be tailgating the much smaller car in front of it and gives very little notice before switching lanes,” the Twitter note stated.
“You must give drivers enough notice that you are changing lane.
If the truck driver was driving in an appropriate manner, the collision wouldn't have occurred. It's broad daylight, the weather is fine. The driver of the SUV couldn't have been expected to do anything more.
— Jim Parke (@JimParke) May 15, 2023
“Context is written by people who use Twitter and appears when rated helpful by others.”
The notation also included a link to the Victorian road rules on the state government’s website.
Based in Melbourne, Transurban operates major roads in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
In Sydney. roads operated by the provider include the Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, Hills M2, Lane Cove Tunnel, M5 East, M5 South – West, NorthConnex, WestConnex M4 and M8, WestConnex M4 – M8 link and Westlink M7.
In Melbourne, Transurban manages the West Gate Tunnel and CityLink networks, while in Brisbane its operations include AirportlinkM7, Clem7, Gateway Motorway, Go Between Bridge, Legacy Way and Logan Motorway.