Latest truck crash statistics have highlighted the need for urgent action on safety, education and improved infrastructure, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), David Smith said.
National Transport Insurance has released its Major Accident Investigation 2020 report, compiled by the National Truck Accident Research Centre, which outlines a rise in the number of truck driver deaths in 2019 compared to the two years prior.
Mr Smith said that the report demonstrates a need to improve truck driver safety through increased education, improved business safety practices, and better transport infrastructure.
“An important finding in the report is that 80 per cent of all serious crashes involving cars and trucks were the fault of the car driver,” Mr Smith said.
“This highlights the need to educate light vehicle drivers about how to share the road safely with trucks, which is the core focus of the ATA’s road safety exhibition SafeT360.
“Through its travelling exhibition and online resources, SafeT360 educates young road users by putting them in the virtual driver’s seat. It is providing the hands-on experience and knowledge that is not offered by learner driver programs,” Mr Smith said.
The report also found that two thirds of crashes were a result of fatigue or distraction.
“The ATA has long called for improved and more frequent rest areas along our roads and highways, which would ensure that drivers have spaces to take proper breaks and manage their fatigue effectively,” Mr Smith said.
“The ATA is also a strong advocate for operator accreditation, like our award-winning TruckSafe scheme, which promotes better fatigue management practices, better fitness for duty and driver health monitoring, and more comprehensive safety policies and procedures,” he said.
To better understand the cause of heavy vehicle crashes, Mr Smith said the ATA is also calling for the implementation of no-blame safety investigations.
“Since 2013, the ATA has been arguing for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate crashes involving heavy vehicles.
“The trucking industry needs more knowledge about the causes of crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned,” he said.
Mr Smith congratulated NTI on its report and said the data will play an important role in pushing for improved safety outcomes.
“This report tells us that we must never become complacent when it comes to safety,” Mr Smith said.
“Until there are zero deaths or serious injuries on our roads, the ATA, our members, governments and the community must work together to ensure the proper education, infrastructure and safety policies are in place to ensure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.