A new initiative dedicated to improving heavy vehicle safety for all road users has been launched by the Victorian Government.
The $4 million program to develop a heavy vehicle training program in partnership with the Victorian Transport Association and providers, will put drivers through their paces to improve driving skills and develop safety-first attitudes following a spike in fatalities involving heavy vehicles on Victorian roads this year.
So far in 2019, 42 people have been tragically killed in incidents in Victoria involving heavy vehicles compared with 28 in all of 2018.
Of the fatalities this year, according to the State Government, 14 deaths have been truck drivers and their passengers, 16 were other vehicle drivers and their passengers, one bus driver, three motorcyclists, three cyclists and five pedestrians.
In addition, an $850,000 road-side fatigue testing trial is currently underway to see if roadside testing for extreme fatigue can be conducted in a similar way to current roadside alcohol and drug testing.
A recent study from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) found that many crashes involved heavy vehicles were caused by other motorists.
Road users are reminded of some simple steps that can be taken to be safer around heavy vehicles.
Most trucks have large blind spots, and motorists are encouraged to be aware of where they are and ensure the driver can see you.
Leaving enough space is vital for safe driving around trucks as they take longer to stop.
When overtaking a truck, road users have been urged to be patient and wait for a safe opportunity.
“In what has been a tragic year on our roads, we have seen a worrying trend in the number of people dying in crashes involving heavy vehicles and everyone needs to be aware of the risks when driving around trucks,” said Jaala Pulford Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC.
“Whether you’re behind the wheel of a truck or sharing the road with one, we all have a responsibility to play our part in keeping each other safe.”