Trucks play a vital role in Australia's economy, however startling figures show we have a long way to go in protecting the safety of our drivers and other road users around them.
A report published by Australia's Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in 2016 analysed road traffic crashes involving trucks and heavy vehicles. The study found that trucks are disproportionately involved in fatal road accidents. Between 2008 and 2014, trucks and heavy vehicles were involved in 16% of all fatal road accidents. This is despite accounting for only 2.4% of registered vehicles.
Approximately 80% of fatal crashes involving heavy trucks are multi-vehicle crashes involving other road users. Evidence suggests that in the majority of these fatal multiple-vehicle accidents involving trucks, the driver of the heavy vehicle is not the one at fault.
Truck accidents: Ensuring safety for all road users
If we want to make the roads a safer place for truckers and those around them, we need to continue to raise education and awareness among all road users on sharing the road with larger vehicles. Here are a few simple ways road users decrease the risk of an accident with heavy vehicles:
- Be aware of the truck's blind spots, which include directly in front and behind the truck and next to the driver's door and passenger door, which can extend for up to 3 lanes;
- Keep a minimum 3-second gap distance when driving behind a truck;
- When overtaking a truck make sure you have enough time and distance to ensure the truck driver has seen you and doesn't need to brake suddenly; and
- Be mindful of a truck's turning abilities - give them extra room if required.
Click here to view a map of all motor vehicle accidents in Queensland.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: August 3, 2017.