The National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s Safer Freight Vehicle Package which features four new Australian Design Rules (ADR)and seven amended vehicle standards (ADRs).

The Safer Freight Vehicles Package proposes to increase the width limit from 2.50m to 2.55m for trucks fitted with a package of safety technologies, and to exclude certain types of safety devices and sensors from the vehicle’s width and length measurements. What this means is safety devices and sensors on these wider trucks will not impact on the load carrying capacity of the vehicle thus allowing the truck to maximise its legal mass and safety technologies.

“This is a common-sense approach to ensuring the integration of safety technologies on heavy vehicles without penalising the sector,” said NRSPP Independent Chair, Emeritus Professor Jude Charlton. “For the industry, it means Australian and the United States truck widths will now align, so long as they come fitted with safety technology as standard.”

The Safer Freight Vehicles Packages proposes to include:

  • Enhanced devices for indirect vision
  • Electronic stability control
  • Advanced emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Blind spot information system for cyclists
  • Side underrun protection for vulnerable road users
  • Better reflective markings.

The package for signed instrument allows continued fitment of flat glass main rear-view mirrors on both sides of trucks, without prescribing a minimum field of vision for these mirrors.

“Every safety feature which is made standard on new trucks makes the road safer for all road users,” said Professor Charlton. “The mass of heavy vehicles means any interaction will have disastrous outcome for third parties and the poor driver.”

“The Safer Freight Vehicle Package adds new opportunities and incentives when purchasing trucks and aligns with the goals of the NRSPP’s CLOCS-A project (Construction Logistics and Community Safety – Australia)

According to BITRE in Australia (2020), records indicate that 19% of pedestrian deaths and 22% of cyclist deaths involved a heavy vehicle. In 2016, BITRE reported heavy trucks accounted only for just 2.4% of registrations yet are involved in 16% of road crash fatalities.

“In road safety, there is no silver bullet but rather requires many different elements to work together to create a system of safety for all road users,” said Professor Charlton.

“This package adds another element and is an important Commonwealth Government safety initiative, but there is still much more we need to do Government making in-roads.”

“As an example of another element, the NRSPP will be releasing on Friday 29 September the first of three Heavy Vehicle Toolbox Talks on Blind Spots developed in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning, focusing on improving interactions between trucks and other road users.