David Smith, Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), has called on Government to press on with the safe systems approach to achieve Vision Zero and has outlined some of the key issues to be considered.
‘The Australian Trucking Association and its members have made countless submissions and appeared before many inquiries and committees, advocating for the hardworking businesses and people in our industry. We have also worked closely with the regulator, safety experts and industry representatives as part of a community of organisations who want Australia to do better on road safety and who value evidence-based policy making.
Earlier this year, the ATA gave evidence before the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, which is inquiring into, and reporting on, the impact of road trauma and how to support the Australian Parliament’s resolve to reduce incidents on our roads. We thank the committee for collaborating with industry in this process, but now call upon government to put practical measures into place.’
Mr Smith believes that ‘It is time for government to press on with the safe systems approach first adopted in the 2011 National Road Safety Strategy and prioritise safety in its approach to road spending. He notes that rest areas on Australia’s major highway are now eligible for funding in round seven of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program but that there is a need for consistent standards for building them, including basic amenities like toilets, water and shade.’
To achieve the shared ambition of ‘Vision Zero’, Mr Smith calls on government ‘to bring in proven safety technologies, including advanced emergency braking for new trucks and highlights data that shows that an extension of mandatory electronic stability control to new rigid trucks, would save 102 lives and prevent 2,564 serious injuries.’
According to Mr Smith ‘ATA members are currently working on how to roll out the technology: rigid trucks first and then prime movers later, given the concerns that have been raised about the performance of the technology on multi-combination trucks.’
The ATA has also added its voice to calls for ‘better road crash data and no-blame safety investigations. Currently, road crashes are investigated through the police and the coronial system. These investigations are focused on legal blame, not on making systemic safety recommendations. In contrast, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) conducts independent, no-blame safety investigations of crashes and other safety occurrences in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport. Introducing ATSB investigations of road crashes involving trucks would supplement, existing police and coronial investigations and provide valuable insights for improving safety.’
Mr Smith concluded by urging all interest groups ‘to explore every possible avenue and listen to the recommendations of safety experts. Any truck crash or fatality is one too many. There is no time to waste – our country’s leaders must take action.’