Biggest truck insurer considers discounts for safety


<font color=red><b>EXCLUSIVE:</b></font> NTI investigates insurance premium discounts for safer trucks

Biggest truck insurer considers discounts for safety
Biggest truck insurer considers discounts for safety
By Gary Worrall

The country's largest truck insurer is investigating charging lower premiums to insure the latest generation of trucks with active safety measures.

Queensland-based National Transport Insurance (NTI) is considering offering discounts as part of a push to make the industry safer.

Owen Driscoll, Industry Liaison for NTI, says the increasing availability of active safety technology should make trucks safer, but there is a trade-off in the potential for increased cost of repairs when a truck is damaged.

"You haven’t got to convince NTI on the need for safety, we do a lot of work on accident investigation, he says. "This business is genuine and will look at these new technologes seriously.

"We will make a decision, but it will not be lighthearted when we do."

Driscoll’s comments follow Mercedes-Benz truck executive Carlo Beltrame's call for insurance discounts for safer trucks. He told ATN trucks fitted with active safety measures reduce the likelihood of vehicles being involved in crashes.

At the heart of the discussion is the increasing availability of technologies such as EBS and ABS brakes, as well sensors and cameras monitoring the truck to warn if it is wandering out of its lane, or to detect if there is an object in the truck’s blind spot.

Some manufacturers are also offering adaptive cruise control, which uses radar to detect and react to slower vehicles cutting in front of the truck, slowing the vehicle and maintaining a preset distance to the vehicle in front.

Already many trucks are fitted with pre-tensioner seatbelts, while SRS airbags are also becoming more common, both aimed at reducing occupant injuries in a crash or reducing the severity where they cannot be avoided.

Currently, these technologies are only available in a small number of trucks, however Driscoll says as the trucks enter the second-hand market more fleets will have the opportunity to access the safety devices.

"The bosses have identified the need to invest in safety equipment in trucks," he says.

"We have to establish the cost of repairing or replacing in them; obviously the manufacturers will argue the trucks will be involved in fewer crashes."

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