Fatal truck crash research investment urged

NatRoad calls for better research into crash causes, COR prosecutions register

Fatal truck crash research investment urged
More can be done to reduce fatalities. Image: NatRoad


Improved research to better understand trends and causal factors of heavy vehicle fatalities, along with the creation of a register of Chain of Responsibility (COR) prosecutions, top the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) wishlist to help industry reduce the road toll.

NatRoad references figures released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) that show articulated truck fatalities reduced by 2.2 per cent per annum in the three years to September 2018 but increased by an average of 0.3 per cent per year over the same period for rigid trucks.

Fatalities involving all heavy trucks decreased by 10.1 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier (from 169 to 152 crashes).

Read the BITRE figures in greater detail, here

While it is widely acknowledged there have been concerted efforts to tackle the road toll through advances in vehicle technology and road safety campaigns, NatRoad CEO Warren Clark is calling for more research to get to the root of heavy vehicle accident causes.

"We recently set out an ambitious plan with the aim of having zero road fatalities by 2050. The path to this goal is paved by evidence-based research and we need to know a lot more about the causes of heavy vehicle fatal crashes and in particular why the rigid truck fatality rate is rising," he says.

"The overall trend is in the right direction but there is a long way to go to reach zero.

"A government agency should be given power to promptly and fully investigate serious truck accidents and to share the results and recommendations publicly so that all industry participants can take the appropriate action to reduce the road toll.

"That role should also encompass better research on trends and causal factors. Currently, both data and research are inadequate to formulate benchmarks other than the trend data that was published today.

Clark hopes this year’s enhancement to Chain of Responsibility laws – and their enforcement – will contribute to changes that translate to lower fatalities involving heavy vehicles. 

"We have asked the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to establish a register of COR prosecutions so that we are able to monitor the levels of enforcement across Australia, an important element of evidence-based research into the effects of the new laws.

"NatRoad has a deep commitment to improving road safety.  Reaching a target of zero harm from road trauma should be a goal which the community embraces and which Government endorses and promotes. 

"Measures which will help the community achieve that goal must be introduced and they must be based on proper analysis and a deeper understanding of what is behind the trends the recent statistics highlight."


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