The Federal Government this week announced it has began consulting technology to reduce the number and severity of heavy vehicle rear impact crashes.
A consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) to examine options more closely has been released following the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020.
Despite heavy vehicles representing just three per cent of all registered vehicles in Australia and accounting for only eight per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled on public roads they are involved in 17 per cent of fatal crashes according to Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Gee.
“The RIS identifies Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that meets international standards as the most effective countermeasure available. The RIS proposes to adopt AEB across the new heavy vehicle fleet,” he said.
“The RIS also considers expanding out the current requirements for Electronic Stability Control where AEB is fitted and applying the requirements to some smaller vehicles as well," said Gee.
“Regardless of where the fault lies, crashes involving heavy vehicles can be particularly severe."
Gee said crashes in which heavy vehicles struck the rear of other vehicles cost the community around $200 million each year.
These crashes also have a devastating effect on the individuals and families involved.
“AEB systems detect likely forward collisions, provide the driver with a warning and, if the driver does not respond, puts the brakes on automatically,” said Gee.
Research commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has found that AEB systems meeting the standards would reduce the number and severity of almost 15 per cent of all heavy vehicle crashes, with reductions of fatalities and injuries by up to 57 per cent.
By harmonising with established international standards Gee said it would help ensure that the safest vehicles are made available to Australian operators at the lowest cost.