Toll Group have called on the Government for action on reducing the road trauma involving the transport industry, following a horrific spate of fatalities across the Christmas break and into the New Year.

In fact, whilst there has been an increase in 2016 over the past five years to 2016, more than 1,000 people were killed in truck crashes. Australia has a dire road safety problem.

Rather than waiting on more studies, Toll Group Managing Director Michael Bryne offers an operator’s perspective.

Michael Byrne calls on the government to make the following six points a priority to affect real improvements in driving the road toll down:

  1. Have one rule book for heavy vehicles and heavy vehicle drivers across the country. No variations, no exceptions. This must cover a standard definition of a heavy vehicle as well as a national approach to: mandatory stationary rest times for heavy vehicle drivers, speed limits for heavy vehicles and a driver licensing system
  2. Introduce a national operator licensing system
  3. Enhance community understanding of how to drive safely around trucks, including through the graduated licensing system and education campaigns
  4. Incentivise and reward safe, modern fleets with life-saving technologies
  5. Make telematics mandatory for regulatory purposes.
  6. Draw on private sector expertise from transport operators in any discussion on improving road safety outcomes pertaining to heavy vehicles

Michael Byrne has shared Toll’s six priority points to all Road and Road Safety Ministers across Australia with the view to driving collaboration across governments. As Australia’s largest provider of road freight logistics, Toll stands ready to work with all governments to make these six points a reality.

Common road users may be unaware of the age of the nations heavy fleet or the technologies which are now available which could help save lives on the road.

Making a case for modern vehicle technologies, Byrne notes “technologies such as autonomous emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems and electronic stability control can save up to 104 lives per year but are taking too long to become standard in the fleet.”

“The average age of a heavy rigid truck in Australia is 15.7 years. The average age of an articulated truck is 11.9 years. An operator licensing system could stipulate a maximum vehicle age or offer subsidies/incentives to safe operators to deploy these life-saving technologies.”

Reducing the incidents involving heavy vehicle cannot be solely reliant on the heavy vehicle sector but all road users need to understand how to “share the road” safely with trucks.

As Michael Byrne explains, “through NTI data, we know that in 93% of fatalities involving a truck, the other party was at fault. There is an opportunity to ensure that drivers are educated on driving safely around trucks, such as safe stopping distances and over-taking.”

Read Michael Byrne’s full letter to the Prime Minster and Road Safety Ministers across Australia.

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