Police investigate possible case of driver fatigue after fuel tanker rolls

POLICE are investigating a case of possible driver fatigue after a fuel tanker carrying 45,000 litres of diesel rolled over at Deep Lead on Tuesday morning. 

The incident caused emergency services to shut the Western Highway in both directions from 8am until 8.30pm

Country Fire Authority district 16 operations officer Neville Collins said a considerable amount of diesel spilled onto the road.

“The diesel has travelled about 500 to 700 metres down the Western Highway and crews were working hard to contain the leak,” he said. 

The driver of the truck was uninjured, but was taken to hospital.

Stawell Sergeant Bill Alford said the incident might have been an outcome of fatigue and warned motorists to always be vigilant. 

“The driver here is very lucky – 45,000 litres of fuel is a lot of weight and luckily no other vehicle was involved,” he said. 

“The tanker nearly ran off the road and into a storm drain.

“Professional drivers have to be aware of how they are feeling – if you are fatigued you have to drive to that level of fatigue and manage yourself.”

Sergeant Alford said the Environment Protection Authority attended the scene and advised emergency services on how to clear 300 metres of drain, full of the spilled fuel.

“The drain was filled with sand and dirt to soak up the fuel, and was then dug back up again,” he said. 

“The clean-up bill would have been quite hefty.”

CFA vehicles from Stawell, Halls Gap, Glenorchy, Dadswells Bridge, Ararat, Corio and Ballarat City attended.

Specialist HAZMAT vehicles from Corio and Ballarat City were also at the scene. 

Police also responded to a head-on collision at Campbells Bridge Road, between Glenorchy and Campbells Bridge, about 3pm on Tuesday. 

The road was being used as part of a detour route after the fuel tanker rolled on the highway

Sergeant Alford said the two vehicles involved experienced extensive damage, but there were minimal injuries to the drivers.

“There was already a lot of chaos going on, so luckily it was not serious,” he said. 

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.  

A motorist in the area who wished to remain anonymous first heard about the incident over UHF radio and described the scene as madness. 

“It’s a narrow road – you have got this secondary road trying to hold mainstream traffic and it’s mad,” the driver said. 

“There were B-doubles passing each other and going off the road to let others through.

“There was dust and traffic everywhere.”