Mega truck driver defends Australia's controversial new craze

Chris Maujean believes Aussies need to be more open minded about the influx of large US-style utes on our roads.

A proud mega truck driver has called those against the large vehicles "narrow-minded" as concerns continue to be raised about their safety and appropriateness for Australian roads and car parks.

US-style trucks are taking over our roads and despite much pushback from drivers, Chris Maujean is an avid advocate for them, believing they offer "safety, comfort and ease" for drivers compared to your typical sized cars.

"The American trucks are built and designed to do the job. They're coming into the country fast because they are that capable and safe... they're unbelievable," he told Yahoo News.

Left, Mega truck driver Chris Maujean wears a cap and sunglasses while pointing towards his truck. Right, the black truck towing a caravan behind it.
Mega truck driver Chris Maujean advocates for the larger vehicles on Aussie roads. Source: TikTok

Maujean, who is originally from the Gold Coast, has been travelling around the country in his Chevrolet Silverado with his partner for four years and living out of a caravan. The couple are content creators for Aussie Destinations Unknown and believe the trucks built in the US are better equipped to tow heavy caravans like the one they live in.

'Self-entitled' drivers giving bad name to trucks

One of the main gripes people express about the oversized trucks is the parking complications they create due to their size, with a number of the vehicles spotted taking up multiple car park spaces at supermarkets and shopping centres in recent weeks. It is causing a huge level of frustration among other drivers with parking already limited in built-up areas – with some truck drivers branded as "self-entitled".

However Maujean said he can easily park his truck in one bay and said the issue is with these individual drivers, not the vehicles as a collective.

"I think it’s just about being considerate... you've got to be aware of other people and pick your spots," he said.

Last week he posted a video online of his Chevrolet parked in one parking bay in Melbourne's CBD and said it squeezed in without issues. "Easy does it," he said, spanning the truck to indicate he had parked within the lines – albeit just barely.

Left, a truck parked diagonally over three parking spaces in Melbourne. Right, Maujean's parked in just one in Melbourne.
Maujean believes truck drivers need to be 'considerate' when parking, saying it is possible to park in just one parking bay. Source: Reddit and TikTok

Safety features of trucks overlooked

Another issue flagged with mega trucks is their safety, with many questioning if their heavy weight and larger size pose a risk to pedestrians and others road users.

Yet Maujean argued there are a number of safety features in the trucks which aid protection for those both inside and outside of the vehicle, including exhaust breaking and advanced cameras to increase visibility.

"You can have over 15 cameras around the vehicle... as you're turning lanes, it'll put a red box next to your caravan in the other lane to make sure you're not going to hit anyone when you go to overtake," he said.

"Every day you drive on the road a truck will go past which delivers your groceries to your store, you get on a bus. People don't need to be hating on these trucks," he added.

Calls for big car tax

The residents of Paris recently voted to introduce a tax on bigger cars in its city, with some calling for a similar approach to be considered for Australian cities.

Monash University lecturer Julian O'Shea, who explores sustainable transport options as part of his work, is one of the many vocal critics of the surge in large American pick-up trucks and argues there would need to be significant changes to infrastructure to accomodate these vehicles as they continue to be adopted.

"The question becomes, how do we use this space? If we want to make our carparks bigger, we get fewer of them, we lose space for bike lanes, we lose space for parks, we lose space for shops," he told Yahoo News Australia last year.

"Some ideas that different countries are using that we could look into are higher parking fees for these cars, which cause more damage to the road because they're so much heavier," he continued.

"And just making more spaces available for other groups. So saying, 'look, if these cars exist, that's fine, but it's probably inappropriate for them to be around schools, or to be inside our CBD where space is at a premium'."

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