NTI Major Accident Investigation Report: Fatigue-related crashes worst in decade

By: Rob McKay

NTI’s Driscoll identified areas of concern in trends for Victoria as well

NTI Major Accident Investigation Report: Fatigue-related crashes worst in decade
Owen Driscoll makes pointed comments about fatigue


With the latest NTI Major Accident Investigation Report to be launched in two weeks’ time at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) national conference in Darwin, one of the nation’s foremost researchers in the field has given a sneak peek at some of its findings further south.

Speaking at this week’s Victorian Transport Association (VTA) state conference, National Transport Hall of Fame-er and manager of truck accident research at insurer NTI Owen Driscoll gave a summary for the country and for Victoria.

To a certain extent, the findings nationally were little changed from the last report two years ago, with inappropriate speed for the conditions still the leading cause of crashes costing more than $50,000, the traditional base line of the statistics.

But Driscoll has deep concerns that fatigue-related crashes, at 12.2 per cent of the total, were at their worst in a decade.

Non-impact losses, particularly fires, remain a concern

Noting that it was a strong agenda item for authorities and the NTI at the end of the last decade, Driscoll believes what is needed now is to "refocus on fatigue . . . without reinventing the wheel, which I think is happening a little at the moment".

While 51 per cent of multi-vehicle crashes were down to the heavy vehicle, 93 per cent of major crash fatalities being down to errors by the lighter vehicle.

Driscoll believes more should be done to tackle the role and awareness of motorists regarding driving behaviour around trucks.

Also underlined was the prevalence of outbound legs to feature in crashes, at 67.4 per cent.

In Victoria, the news is fairly positive, with the state responsible for 20.2 per cent of the national road freight task but only 17.8 per cent of notified large NTI losses.

Inappropriate speed for conditions was at 10.58 per cent, fatigue at 5.3 per cent and non-impact losses at 6.7 per cent.

Though mechanical failure weighed in at 3.2 per cent, Driscoll issued a warning about the increasing incidence of tyre failure, at 19.5 per cent of the time, due to over- or under-inflation, road conditions, defects and other reasons. This was topped only by turntable and hoist failure at 27.8 per cent, due to incorrect coupling and wear and tear.

Wheel security and bearing failure were the next major issue, at 13.4 per cent.

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