The horrific triple fatal crash at Brookstead south of Toowoomba.
The horrific triple fatal crash at Brookstead south of Toowoomba. 7 News Queensland

Christmas rush pushes truckies to breaking point

A HORROR crash near Toowoomba that killed three people are one of the many incidents that have sparked an appeal for vigilance and safety this Christmas.

Twenty-three people have died in truck crashes in the past five weeks compared with 18 during the same period last year.

That include the triple fatal crash on the Gore Hwy at Brookstead, south of Toowoomba.

The Transport Workers Union is concerned over increased pressure on truck drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines at Christmas.

"Pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip breaks at this time of year is obviously getting worse," Transport Workers Union acting national secretary Michael Kaine said.

"Drivers are fatigued and stressed out and truck crashes are on the increase. For 23 families this Christmas will be horrendous.

"All road users need to be aware of this deadly pressure. But I am appealing to wealthy retailers to put a stop to this pressure and to ensure their transport contracts allow for their goods to be delivered safely."

Deaths over the past five weeks tragically include three people in one Queensland crash, a 15-year-old boy in a Victoria crash and six people in NSW.

Mr Kaine said the union was hopeful that the new year would see less pressure on trucking with a ruling last Friday from the road safety watchdog setting minimum safe rates for drivers.

The ruling also means retailers and manufacturers which use transport operators will be held to account for pressures on drivers.

"This ruling is a vital step to addressing the crisis in the road transport industry and it is encouraging that many transport operators are supporting it," Mr Kaine said.

"The criticism today by the National Road Transport Association however is disappointing and represents a disservice to its members."