Truck driving is crucial to Australia; without it, transporting goods around the country would grind to a halt. Despite playing such a crucial role in Australia's economy, current accident statistics tell a concerning story: that we need to improve on road safety around trucks and heavy vehicles; for the sake of truck drivers and all other road users.
The Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development released a report on heavy truck safety, analysing crashes and trends, which found that approximately 80% of fatal crashes involving heavy trucks are multi-vehicle crashes that involve other road users. Of these crashes, evidence suggests that in 80% of investigations, the fault is not assigned to the heavy truck.
The map below details the number of accidents involving trucks and heavy vehicles causing injuries and fatalities in Victoria from 2015 to 2018.
Truck accidents: Ensuring safety for all road users
Keeping truck drivers and other road users safe has been the subject of many campaigns across Australia - both by government and NGOs. Some of the key focuses have been:
- Improving road conditions;
- Reducing driver fatigue;
- Educating road users on how to safely pass trucks;
- Ensuring vehicles are fit for travel; and
- Providing better working conditions and care for drivers.
We are all responsible for decreasing the risk of accidents on our roads and making them safe for all road users. Here are a few quick tips for how you can share the road safely with heavy vehicles:
- Be conscious of the truck's blind spots. These include immediately behind and infront of the truck as well as next to the driver and passenger doors of the cabin;
- Ensure there is enough time and distance to safely overtake the truck, to avoid the driver needing to brake suddenly if they had not seen you;
- Maintain a 3-second gap distance when following a truck; and
- Be aware of the additional space required by a turning truck.
Ongoing improvements in road safety will help keep people safe and Australia moving.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: August 3, 2017.