Road safety research by a major transport and logistics provider shows most fatal incidents it experiences are caused by third parties, indicating that improving road safety around heavy vehicles is a pressing responsibility government and the community shares with the transport industry.

Findings Patterns in Fatalities

In order to better understand its risks and take preventative action, logistics giant Toll Group examined every on-road and driver fatality at its global operations over a 10 year period. The company operates more than 2000 prime movers and 2400 light vehicles in Australia alone, travelling a distance equivalent to the moon and back every day.

  •  In most instances, fatalities were caused by a third party, not the heavy vehicle driver. Light vehicle drivers are over-represented in the fatalities (37 per cent) (see Figure 1). suggesting light vehicle drivers and other road users need to be better educated about how to share the road safely with heavy vehicles.
  • Contractor and casual drivers were much more likely to be involved in fatalities than employee drivers. While this relationship cannot be said to be ‘causal’, industry needs to understand why the correlation exists.
  • Almost 10 per cent of fatalities were non-work related (employee and contractor combined), overwhelmingly the result of a heart attack experienced on a Toll premises or in a Toll vehicle. This suggests a need to improve drivers’ cardiovascular health, in support of which Toll Group is developing ‘fitness for duty’ standards along the lines of what exists for rail and aviation workers.
  • One in seven fatalities (14 per cent) were confirmed ‘suicide by truck’, where third parties intentionally use the velocity of the truck to end their lives. Almost certainly an underestimate, this issue requires community and government involvement

This Thought Leadership Piece goes on to explore:

  1. Third Party Education
  2. Partnership Approach
  3. What does it all mean?