Taken from Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) newsletter.

Transport for NSW is taking steps to more closely collaborate with the heavy vehicle industry in a bid to foster significant safety benefits for the industry and other road users.  Transport for NSW Executive Director Insights and Engagement, Peta Gamon, said the ‘Engage and Educate’ approach used to raise awareness of safety issues around Chain of Responsibility was helping to increase safety in the freight sector.

“The freight transport industry is the backbone of the state’s economy, and it is important to keep everyone in the industry informed on safety and regulation,” said Gamon.  “It is vital freight companies understand their obligations in ensuring the safe movement of goods through realistic delivery times, to reduce the incidence of speeding and fatigue related offences.

One of the ways Transport for NSW achieves this, according to Gamon, is by informal discussions at the roadside with drivers and operators about key areas of concern including registration, work diaries, load restraint, vehicle maintenance issues, and carrying and producing permits.  “Talking with drivers and improving their understanding of the vital role they play in road safety is a cornerstone of the approach,” she said.

In 2019, according to Transport for NSW, work diaries were by far the most discussed issue during roadside intercepts, clocking up more than 1,236 hours of discussion or about 100 hours a month. Mechanical defects and the role they play in affecting road safety was the second most discussed issue, with around 451 hours of education during the year, or about 37 hours a month.

Transport for NSW said it also regularly holds engagement days at heavy vehicle safety stations across the state to inform and educate the freight sector about their role in helping to lift compliance across the industry. The development of a “Top 5 Before you drive” heavy vehicle brochure, listing things drivers should do each time prior to starting a journey to ensure their heavy vehicle is compliant on the road, has also helped spread the safety message.

“We are confident the work being done across Transport for NSW in engagement and education is helping to contribute to ensuring vehicles and drivers are operating safely,” said Gamon. “Fatalities from heavy vehicle crashes are down from 232 to 203 between January and September 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. We believe that working closely with industry to encourage improved compliance is a key to raising standards across the board,” she said.

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