Farmer fatigue inquiry urged

ONE of the region’s top police officers is asking for a coronial investigation into fatigue management of farmers at harvest time.

Wangaratta police Acting Superintendent David Ryan’s comments come after a grain truck driver was killed in a crash at Tungamah on Friday.

Also fresh in the officer’s mind is a collision between a grain truck and a motorcycle on the Benalla-Tocumwal Road at Katamatite in November last year that killed a man and a woman on the motorcycle.

Supt Ryan said fatigue could be a factor in both incidents.

“I just want the whole thing examined, potentially via a coroner, to see if there’s any need to do some sort of work with the farming industry around fatigue management before we get down the track and we’ve lost four or five lives,” Supt Ryan said.

Supt Ryan met with WorkSafe officials yesterday and has spoken with a Victorian coroner to begin talks about a wide investigation.

He had asked the police officers handling the deaths at Tungamah and Katamatite to ask the coroner to consider an investigation.

“It’s not OK for me to stick my head in the sand on the issue,” Supt Ryan said.

“I’m charged with the responsibility of asking these tough questions, of protecting some people from themselves.

“If regulation will save a life then it’s good regulation, isn’t it?”