Transport consultant rubbishes call to slow down trucks

Transport consultant slams proposal for truck speed limits to be reduced to 90km/h, saying discipline is needed to improve safety

By Ruza Zivkusic | June 7, 2011

A transport consultant has slammed a proposal to reduce truck speed limits on Melbourne’s freeways, motorways and highways, saying it will increase congestion and cause more crashes.

John Lambert and Associates Director John Lambert has responded to Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Phil Lovel’s call to reduce the speed limit to 90km/h, saying more emphasis needs to be placed on "lane discipline".

"The key issue to be dealt with in Australia is lane discipline – that is a high compliance with vehicles keeping to the left as far as possible, with slow vehicles always travelling in the left lane," he says.

"That is what we need to put a huge effort in with heavy fines, publicity and enforcement so that behaviour changes dramatically."

Once this is adopted, Lambert says governments can then introduce a European system where trucks stay in the left lane except when overtaking.

"And where there are three lanes, slower light vehicles will commonly be in the centre lane and the vehicles travelling at the speed limit or slightly faster will travel in the right hand lane," he says.

"To introduce 90km/h for trucks on roads where other vehicles are travelling at 100 to 105km/h or 110 to 115km/h will lead to an increase in congestion and an increase in crashes."

VTA met with Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder in late April asking for his commitment to address transport safety and the need for all vehicles to share the road effectively. Lovel believes a lower speed limit will prevent accidents.

Lambert says truck drivers are the safest drivers on the roads but are the most persecuted through rules and regulations.

"The most frequent fatigued driver situation leading to near-misses and crashes is people like you and I travelling to work or home from work at the end of a long day or to fixed appointments," he says.

"That is trips where we are forced to travel even though we may be tired. Truck driver fatigue crashes do not rate in comparison yet they are persecuted with driving hour laws but not drivers like you and I."

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