Police take action over rising heavy vehicle road toll

More people are being killed in heavy vehicle accidents in Victoria, prompting police to target truck drivers

By Ruza Zivkusic | February 2, 2011

More people are being killed in heavy vehicle accidents in Victoria, prompting police to target truck drivers to bring the road toll down.

The number of crashes involving trucks is rising, with 50 percent more people killed last year than the year before.

Victoria Police is targeting heavy vehicle drivers as 60 people died in heavy vehicle crashes last year, up from 40 the previous year. Out of last year’s 50 fatal collisions, 60 resulted in deaths, representing 21 percent of all fatalities.

Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe is investigating collisions and road trauma involving heavy vehicles. He will also meet Victorian Transport Association (VTA) members next week to discuss safety and heavy vehicle enforcement issues.

The meeting was initiated after Walshe contacted the VTA to seek the industry’s opinion on future policing activities affecting the road transport industry.

The VTA, which over the last year has worked with Superintendant David Newton on road policing, believes the number of road fatalities involving heavy vehicles needs to be reduced.

Chain of responsibility obligations, speed and driver fatigue will be on the agenda.

"I believe research and information is our best way forward in tackling these deaths," Walshe says.

Over 20 transport operators who are members of the VTA will attend the meeting to voice their opinions.

Victoria had its lowest road toll ever in 2010 with 287 deaths. Speed was the major contributing factor, accounting for 30 percent of all fatal crashes.

Speed is still one of the police’s greatest challenges, Walshe says.

"Data released by the TAC last week showed that one quarter of Victorians believe driving 10km over the speed limit is socially acceptable," he says.

"Our challenge is to change that perception. Speed is a killer. Even just a small reduction in speed can be the difference between life and death.

"This year, our members, more than ever will be targeting speeding drivers. Consider this your warning now, we don’t want to hear excuses."

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