The Road Ahead : October 2010
MEMBER ESSENTIALS BREAKDOWN RESPONSE MOTORWAY DRIVING CAN be maddening enough but a breakdown during peak-hour traffic while trucks thunder past and motorbikes zoom around your stranded vehicle can be downright terrifying. But that's when a RACQ tow truck, contracted to provide the Motorway Breakdown Response Service on Brisbane metropolitan area motorways, comes to your rescue. RACQ's tow trucks patrol seven sections of motorway to provide assistance free of charge for vehicles that need to be quickly and safely removed. The service is vital as about 25 per cent of congestion is caused by traffic incidents, so the sooner they can be cleared, the sooner traffic can flow again. Derek McNabb is one of RACQ's vehicle recovery officers working for the Department of Transport and Main Roads' Motorway Breakdown Response Service. On the day The Road Ahead went out with Derek he was working 'Section 5', from the Bruce Highway and Beams Rd intersection at Carseldine to the Boundary Rd intersection near North Lakes. On some days Derek is rushed off his feet towing up to 10 vehicles during a shift. And then others are quieter, with time spent patrolling his section to ensure he is well positioned to meet the breakdown priority quick clearance zone time limit of 30 minutes. Derek said quick response was crucial. "If a car is broken down for 15 minutes on the side of a motorway that can add on one hour to peak period for that day," he said. Priority breakdown quick clearance zones include the Pacific Motorway, Gateway Motorway, Bruce Highway, Deagon Deviation, Houghton Highway, Western Freeway and Centenary Highway. The Motorway Breakdown Response Service is for all vehicles under 2.5 tonnes, mostly family and commercial vehicles. Vehicles involved in traffic accidents or heavy vehicles that cannot be removed by a standard tow truck are excluded from this service. Today, Derek's first job is before 7am and it's a 1997 Mazda sedan which has going with the flow gg RACQ's vehicle recovery officers, in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, keep Brisbane's metropolitan motorways free and clear of breakdowns. STORY JENNY O'REILLY WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 68 THE ROAD AHEAD OCT/NOV 2010 broken down heading inbound. Having worked for many years as a mechanic, he suspects the Mazda's radiator has packed it in. He loads the car onto the truck using the hydraulic winch and takes the driver and her vehicle to a safe drop-off point outside a petrol station on Anzac Av enue. RACQ members can ask the Motorway Breakdown Response Service vehicle recovery officer to arrange an RACQ Roadside Assistance Patrol or tow truck to help them from the drop-off location. The breakdown response service works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is coordinated by The Brisbane Metropolitan Traffic Management Centre. The centre dispatches and coordinates all traffic and incident response services using its network of 200 CCTV and 14 web cameras and each year, the centre responds to 20,000 vehicle breakdowns. If your car has broken down, use the roadside help phones or call the Brisbane Traffic Report Line on 13 1940 for free assistance to move you and your vehicle to a designated safe location.