Australia’s roads were the safest they’ve been in years during COVID, with the number of multi-vehicle crashes involving heavy vehicles down more than 16 per cent, according to a new report.
The positive findings came despite more trucks and freight being on Australian roads, particularly during the pandemic, said Adam Gibson, author of the NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) report.
Since 2003, when the first NTARC report was released, the number of freight movements and heavy vehicles has increased by 50 per cent.
The report found evidence road safety messaging is working with fatigue-related crashes involving heavy vehicles down from 27 per cent in 2005 to eight per cent last year.
“The industry should be congratulated for keeping Australia moving and for keeping supermarket shelves stocked especially during COVID lockdowns,” Gibson said.
“There’s been a massive reduction in multi-vehicle crashes involving trucks and the lowest number of fatigue-related crashes since NTI began keeping records 18 years ago. It is a credit to the industry, truck drivers and all road users.”
Technology and smart trucks are key to further driving down the road toll. The report found one in eight truck crashes were due to inappropriate speed for the conditions, however, this did not mean the vehicles were exceeding the speed limit.
“Speed cameras, radar traps and increased speed enforcement help deter high-speed offences, but data shows technology and smart braking systems on trucks are key to reducing single-vehicle rollover crashes.”
NTI is working with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to use data from the NTARC report to develop new education initiatives to further improve road safety.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said data-driven technology is the new frontier in making our roads safer.
“Australia’s trucking industry is set for an information boom over the next decade, which will help improve safety and increase productivity,” Petroccitto said.
“The NHVR is committed to ongoing fatigue detection programs and support, together with delivering safety campaigns such as We Need Space, aimed at reminding light vehicle drivers about the importance of driving safely around truck drivers on the road.
“We want every driver to travel safely and arrive safely at their destination and ensure these NTARC report figures continue to improve.”
“If you are near a heavy vehicle, remember it takes a truck longer to brake. Trucks also have larger blind spots and require more room to manoeuvre so avoid risky behaviour like cutting in front,” Petroccitto said.