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Australian associations and governments combine to support National Road Safety Week

From the NHVR to state and territory governments, as well as Monash University, the transport industry is combining for National Road Safety Week

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is leading the charge for the local transport industry ahead of this week’s National Road Safety Week.

The NHVR and the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group are combining to remind drivers to prioritise safety behind the wheel to drive down road trauma.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the week serves as a crucial reminder for motorists to ensure they know how to safely share the road with heavy vehicles.

“Last year, we saw 1,272 lives lost in crashes on Australia’s roads – 187 of these lives were taken in crashes that involved a heavy vehicle,” Petroccitto says.

“Behind these numbers are real people, whose loss is deeply felt by loved ones and their communities.

“This National Road Safety Week, the NHVR wants to prevent further tragedy on our roads, by sharing vital information about how to drive safely around heavy vehicles.”

The NHVR is reminding light vehicle drivers to leave two lanes for turning trucks, give trucks extra space and avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spot.

Petroccitto says the week is a timely reminder for truck drivers to ensure they’re operating safely.

“NHVR on-road officers are always out and about, ready to support drivers with any questions they have regarding their compliance,” he says.

“I encourage any heavy vehicle driver to chat to our officers, to make sure their movements are safe and efficient.”

This year’s National Road Safety Week, the 11th iteration of it, runs from May 5-12 after being founded by Peter Frazer following the loss of his daughter Sarah in a preventable crash south of Sydney in 2012.

“In 2023, more than 1,200 people were killed and over 40,000 were seriously injured – this continues to be a true pandemic, but we can change these numbers,” Frazer says.

“So this year, and indeed every year, I ask drivers to make a commitment to protect every life by driving as if their loved ones are on the road ahead, by taking the pledge to ‘drive so others survive’.

“Road safety starts at a local level, which is captured in this year’s theme of ‘All road safety is local’.

“National Road Safety Week is about bringing communities together, tackling road trauma and shaping the future of our roads by working to collectively change attitudes and behaviours.”

The NHVR is launching its Heavy Vehicle Industry Safety Survey this week, on May 7, to coincide with the campaign.

Around Australia, various state and territory governments are doing their bit to recognise the week, with the Victorian government lighting up landmarks as hundreds walked at the Amber Community’s annual Shine a Light on Road Safety walk.

Iconic buildings will be lit up in the campaign’s yellow this week, including Melbourne Town Hall, Flinders Street Station, the Bolte Bridge, Box Hill Town Hall and 101 Collins Street.

“Every life lost on our roads is one too many and as we come into National Road Safety Week, I urge everyone to take extra care behind the wheel so Victorians can get back home to their families safely,” Victorian roads and road safety minister Melissa Horne says.

The Northern Territory government has also pledged to drive so others survive, highlighting its recent road safety investments as the territory also lights up its key landmarks in yellow.

Monash University Accident Research Centre director Professor Stuart Newstead is leading Monash University’s safety week focus, calling for increased vehicle safety technology improvements.

“Safer vehicles contribute to both protecting those involved in crashes from being killed or seriously injured and, in more recent years, avoiding a crash in the first place,” Newstead says.

“Despite these improvements there still remains much untapped potential to further reduce road trauma through safer vehicle choices, particularly for our younger and older drivers. A key focus of national road safety week should be how to unlock this potential in the future.”

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