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Prime Mover Magazine


New report confirms fall in truck fatalities

National figures released as part of a new report unveiled today shows a significant decrease in truck fatalities.

The report issued by the National Truck Accident Research Centre confirmed fatalities involving commercial vehicles dropped by 14 per cent over the past two years with predictions fatalities could be reduced even further to zero by as soon as 2032.

An analysis of Australia’s largest database of major crashes involving heavy vehicles shows a downward trend, with the number of fatal truck accidents the lowest in nearly two decades.

Released at the Australian Trucking Association’s National Trucking Conference in Perth, the report found the trend has Australia within a generation of achieving zero deaths from crashes involving heavy vehicles.

Report author Adam Gibson, of National Transport Insurance, said the decline in the number of heavy-vehicle involved deaths between the 2017 and 2019  equated to an estimated 1545 lives being saved.

“Encouragingly we’ve seen the lowest number of fatigue-related crashes in the report’s 16-year history. Fatigue was the cause of 9.8 per cent of major crashes, down from 20 per cent a decade ago,” he said.

The report also found nation-wide, the overall number of crashes caused by fatigue was down.

Findings across the states included that two out of every five serious fatigue accidents occur in New South Wales; Queensland was 51 per cent higher than the national average for the risk of a fatigue accident; in Western Australia 15 per cent of the state's major truck crashes are the result of fatigue; and fatigue-related crashes in Victoria and South Australia decreased in the last two years by 68 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

“As an industry, we welcome new technology which alerts drivers to their fatigue, so that they might take a break and rest, before there’s any loss of life,” he said.

Australian Trucking Association Chair Geoff Crouch welcomed the results although says there is still work to be done.

“We need to see a strong commitment from our government for practical safety solutions like an improved truck driver licensing system and mandatory safety technologies for new trucks,” he said.

“The ATA is working hard to improve safety outcomes, focusing on the improvement and increase of heavy vehicle rest areas, making the fatigue laws more flexible and hearing from drivers first-hand what they think will work, as we are doing this week at our Trucking Australia conference,” said Crouch.

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