Hands off truck drivers, NTI tells authorities

Pointless to focus on trucks when cars are most to blame for accidents

By Rob McKay | April 14, 2011

National Transport Insurance has delivered a rebuke to Australia’s road safety agencies over their negative focus on heavy vehicle drivers.

The latest Major Accident Investigation Report by the NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre and authored by the NTI’s Industry Relations National Manager, Owen Driscoll, reinforced the fact that, in a hefty majority of cases, truck drivers are not to blame.

"In cases of all serious multi-vehicle accidents, it was found that the driver of the heavy vehicle was negligent in 44 percent of the accidents," the report says.

"In fatal crash incidents involving more than one vehicle, the third-party driver was at fault in 82 percent of the accidents.

"This report questions the relevance of road safety agencies highlighting the increase of fatalities involving heavy vehicles, given that in most cases the driver of the goods carrying vehicle is not responsible.

"Undoubtedly there need to be an increased safety focus for all road users, particularly those regularly sharing the roads with heavy vehicles."

Driscoll says he wants to highlight to the compliance agencies that it was "pointless overreacting and bashing the truck drivers" over such incidents when compliance with fatigue regulations and better training of drivers was leading to fewer accidents attributable to them.

On the drivers themselves, he says: "They just don’t break the law like they used to."

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