The number of people killed in crashes involving semi-trailers on NSW roads almost doubled last year, while the number fell everywhere else across Australia. Statistics show 50 people died across the state in the 12 months to December 31 – up from 26 in 2016. While NSW is trending upwards, in other states and territories there’s been a reduction in the number of fatalities involving articulated trucks. Across the country in 2017 some 185 people died in 168 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks. There was also a spike in the number of deaths in bus crashes last year, from 24 to 30 nationally, with a third occurring in Victoria. NSW Police have been cracking down on truck safety and compliance after no fewer than a dozen people died in truck crashes in the first two months of this year. But the Transport Workers’ Union says the real issue is not being addressed. It wants retailers and manufacturers held to account for the stresses placed on drivers and the union is demanding the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal be reinstated. Otherwise, it warns, deaths will continue to rise until a proper system is in place. “Wealthy retailers and manufacturers are putting financial pressure on transport which is causing vehicles to not be maintained and drivers to be pushed to work long hours, speed and skip mandatory rest breaks,” TWU acting national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement on Wednesday. The union says the increase in deaths in NSW reveals problems with the industry more broadly given so many trucks pass through the state.