Heavy rigid and articulated trucks on different fatals paths

Fatal crash 12-month figures trending towards parity and have twice crossed over quarterly

Heavy rigid and articulated trucks on different fatals paths
The latest BITRE graph


Four months after huge debate over the rise in New South Wales fatalities involving trucks, heavy-duty truck fatal crashes for the 12 months to March are at their lowest level this decade, the latest national statistics show.

At 88, they have resumed a six-year downward trend that began at 125, which was broken by a spike in the period to March last year.

The news on fatalities is less good, rising by one death each year since March 2016 but, at 184, is still well below the 200-plus mark that was a feature of the corresponding periods before 2014.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ (BITRE) latest Fatal heavy vehicle crashes Australia quarterly bulletin does reveal a trend divergence between articulated trucks and heavy rigids.

Articulated fatal-crash trend changes for the last 10 years, five years and three years are at -4.3, -3.3 and -1.7, while those for heavy rigids are -0.1, +0.1 and +2.3.

For fatalities, the changes are -4.8, -4.4 and -2.4 compared to +0.2, -0.6 and +2.1.

Indeed, 12-monthly figures to March are trending towards parity and, this time around, are both in the 80s, at 88 and 82 respectively.

And, on a quarterly basis, articulated truck fatal crashes have fallen below rigids twice this decade, 10-20 in the March quarter of 2016 and 20-13 in last year’s December quarter.

At 82 incidents for the period, heavy rigids have lost almost all the improvement seen since March 2013’s 83. This was itself something of a spike as totals had otherwise been in the 60s and 70s since March 2008’s 85. It had been as low as 65 and 60 in 2011 and 2012.  

For the 12 months, NSW remains an outlier state for fatal articulated crashes, up seven incidents to 36, or 24 per cent, though it has been joined by Western Australia up from six to 10.

Victoria leads falls in other states, down from 24 to 13, while Queensland slipped from 24 to 18.

By contrast, heavy-rigid crashes for the period were up in every state bar South Australia by between one and three incidents.


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