Truck deaths: bring in the global safety experts

Truck deaths: bring in the global safety experts

The Australian Government should extend the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to include serious truck crashes, ATA chairman Geoff Crouch said.

Mr Crouch said the government should start by investing $4.3 million in the 2018 Budget to set up national databases of coronial recommendations about road safety and serious truck crashes.

“In the year ended September 2017, the number of deaths in NSW from crashes involving articulated trucks like semitrailers increased from 29 to 54. It’s a shocking increase of 86 per cent,” Mr Crouch said.

“Professor Ann Williamson from UNSW has blamed the increase on fatigue and the way truck drivers are paid. Others have blamed the increase on the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

“But these suggestions are not supported by the evidence.

“During the same year that deaths in NSW increased, the number of deaths in articulated truck crashes fell in Victoria (-4.5 per cent), Queensland (-14.8 per cent), South Australia (-23.1 per cent) and Tasmania (-80 per cent).

“The spike in deaths in NSW and the uncertainty about why it happened shows that Australia needs to investigate road crashes better.

“These crashes will be the subject of coronial inquiries, but those inquiries won’t occur for years.

“In contrast, the tragic Sydney Seaplanes crash is being investigated by the specialist safety investigators at the ATSB. They will release a preliminary report before the end of January and a final report by the end of 2018.

“The ATSB is one of the world’s leading safety organisations. Australia has no excuse not to apply its expertise to road safety,” Mr Crouch said.

You can join the conversation on the ATA Facebook page.

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