THE threat of a hefty $415 fine has local tradies scrambling for cover.
They are catching on quickly to ensure their loads are covered as news of a police crackdown spreads through their tight-knit community.
It has resulted in a stampede for cargo nets to avoid the $415 punishment for not properly covering their ute, truck or trailer’s load.
Police from Chifley Highway Patrol are warning people to cover up unsecured items or face the penalty, which also includes the loss of demerit points.
Word-of-mouth warnings have resulted in something of a cargo net revolution and they can now be seen throughout Bathurst.
Unsecured and overhanging loads can become a flying missile with the ability to kill, according to Senior Sergeant Ben MacFarlane.
The Highway Patrol Chifley Cluster Senior Supervisor said motorists not abiding by the law can be hit with a $415 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
“Anything that’s capable of being dislodged from a vehicle has to be secured,” he said.
“Anything that can be easily lifted needs to be tied town with a rope, or netting, or a strong tarpaulin.”
Bathurst landscaper David Varman is all too aware of the risk of a fine and uses a strong cargo net to secure items in the rear of his work ute.
“I started noticing more and more cargo nets on the back of trucks and thought their must be something in it. So I ended up asking what was going on,” he said.
“It turns out people were getting booked for something that, although it is law, hasn’t really been heavily policed.
“I went down to Mitre 10 and picked up a cargo net for myself. Bruce Kemp served me and said they had been flying out the door.
“He said he’s sold more than 400 in recent weeks and I even had to wait until they got more stock in to get mine.
“Then I kept on hearing more stories about people getting booked. One plumber got done twice in the one day. There was no notice of the blitz, but you would have thought there could have been some advertising campaign to let people know.”
Mr Varman said his cargo net stays on all the time to avoid the fine.
“It can be a bit of nuisance when it gets caught on tools, but if it’s going to stop things flying off, or avoid getting a fine, it’s worth a few extra seconds of my time.”
Senior Sergeant MacFarlane said items need to be secured not just for normal driving, but be secured from falling out in the event of a vehicle roll-over.
“There’s a myth that the heavier the item, the less likely it is to dislodge, but that’s only if gravity is holding it down.
“We find ladders and star pickets [on the road], and imagine what these kind of things could do to someone.
“Things that come out of a vehicle going around corners cartwheel down the road.
“Think of the consequences of something coming out and hitting someone else.”
Senior Sergeant MacFarlane said police officers regularly find a range of building items scattered on roadways, including lumps of wood and pickets.