Annual deaths from crashes involving heavy vehicles fell by more than 30 per cent over the last decade.
The number of people killed in Australia from crashes involving a heavy vehicle over the last decade has fallen significantly, according to new government statistics.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ (BITRE) latest report on heavy vehicle crash statistics shows the number of deaths from crashes involving articulated trucks, heavy rigids and buses fell from 281 to 189 between 2004 and 2013 – a drop of 32.7 per cent.
The report, which also includes statistics from the last 25 years, shows there were 9.7 fatal crashes per 10,000 registered articulated trucks in 2013, less than half the rate in 2004 (20.8).
Federal assistant minister for infrastructure Jamie Briggs has used the release of the results to argue the need for more work to be done to deliver further safety improvements.
“Although these statistics are trending downwards, the Australian Government is committed to working together with state and territory governments to ensure our transport networks are even safer and more productive across urban and regional Australia,” Briggs says.
“The Australian Government will continue to monitor trends in heavy vehicle road safety and implement programs to improve road safety and reduce fatal crashes on our roads.”
Briggs says there are a number of initiatives in the pipeline to improve road safety, including the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Black Spot and Roads to Recovery schemes.
“Round four of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity, which opened earlier this month, will deliver $40 million each financial year through to 2019 and cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of safety and productivity projects for heavy vehicles,” he says.
STATS SHOW MAJOR DROP IN FATALITIES
The statistics show a significant reduction in the number of deaths involving trucks over the past 25 years.
Nationally, there were 335 deaths involving articulated trucks in 1989 but that figure fell to 107 last year. The number of fatal crashes where articulated trucks were involved fell from 250 in 1989 to 88 in 2013.
Statistics for heavy rigids, which only cover the last decade, show there were 108 deaths 10 years ago and 74 fatalities in 2013. The trucks were involved in 92 fatal crashes in 2004 and 69 in 2013.
New South Wales, which experiences the greatest level of heavy vehicle traffic, has noticed major gains over the past 25 years. In 1989, 143 people died from crashes involving heavy vehicles. That number fell to 32 in 2013. In 2012 the figure sat at 50.
BITRE found that the majority of fatal crashes involving trucks occurred on national or state highways.
It says about 64 per cent of fatal crashes involving articulated trucks occured in zones of 100km/h per hour or greater, compared to 44 per cent for heavy rigids.
“Fatal crashes involving an articulated truck are more likely to be head-on or single vehicle run-off road crashes than those involving a heavy rigid truck,” BITRE says.
Its report says the majority of fatal crashes involving a heavy vehicle, particularly heavy rigids, between 2009 and 2013 happened in the afternoon of a weekday.
The report says drivers and vehicle passengers accounted for 75 per cent of fatalities in heavy vehicle crashes, followed by pedestrians (14 per cent), motorcyclists (8 per cent) and cyclists (3 per cent).