Queensland Road Safety Week has seen the launch of We Need Space, a new campaign from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) advising light vehicle drivers how to better act on roads around trucks.
State Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, Australian Supercars ace Garth Tander and NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto attended the launch held at Russell Transport in Brisbane.
Bailey said getting the road safety message across to the broader population is critical, all the more pertinent this week during Queensland Road Safety Week.
“Everybody’s got to remember that road safety is the most important thing every time we drive, every time we travel,” said Bailey. “What we’re seeing today is a fantastic campaign by the NHVR to increase peoples’ awareness around heavy vehicles.
“The truth is, four out of five crashes that involve trucks are not the fault of the truck driver, but are actually the fault of light vehicle drivers who sometimes don’t understand how to act around heavy vehicles.”
Bailey said the most important thing that people need to remember is to give trucks space, particularly when the truck is turning left from the right lane, which they are legally entitled to do.
“People need to be aware of where truck drivers’ blind spots are – the left side is sometimes hard for truck drivers to see; so staying out of these blind spots is an important thing for every light vehicle driver to do any time they are driving in close proximity to trucks.”
Echoing these sentiments, Garth Tander said his role in the campaign was to communicate with light vehicle drivers to help them understand the important role truck drivers fulfil in society and how they can help rather than hinder them in carrying out their duties.
“The truck driver’s role is to get their freight or cargo from A to B as safely and efficiently as possible and likewise the car driver also needs to get from their A to B as safely and efficiently as possible too; but it’s not a race,” said Tander.
“My job when I’m racing is to get to the finish line first and to try and do so safely, but when I’m driving as a motorist it’s a completely different ballgame and my number one priority is that myself and other road users all get to our destinations safely.”
Tander said his aim was to help light vehicle drivers understand that truck drivers have a huge responsibility in managing the size and weight of their vehicles and ensuring they have enough room to manoeuvre and stop safely.
“They’re not just operating their trucks, they’re also managing other motorists by checking their blind spots and the space in front and where they have to turn, so motorists need to give them as much space as possible.
“We need space to keep you safe is a fantastic catchline because it really paints the picture of what trucks need and what motorists need to do when sharing the road with them.”
(Image: Garth Tander, Supercars driver, Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO).