Advertising campaign needed to combat scare mongering

ATA wants governments to dip their hands into the kitty and fund an advertising campaign dispelling media beat-ups about B-triples

Advertising campaign needed to combat scare mongering
Advertising campaign needed to combat scare mongering
By Brad Gardner | October 3, 2011

Governments are being asked to dip their hands into the kitty and fund an advertising campaign to combat any media beat-ups about B-triples being handed greater access to the road network.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has supported a proposal from the National Transport Commission (NTC) for a nationally-agreed access network for B-triples.

The NTC recommends opening up type 1 road train routes to the 35-metre vehicles made up of two A-trailers and a semi-trailer as a first step in securing access along the inter-capital network.

But in its written response to the NTC’s discussion paper on B-triples, the ATA identifies the media as a potential stumbling block in trying to win support for the proposal.

"The media play a huge part in the perception of trucks. Negative reporting by media outlets generates fear in the community, who for the most part would not be able to identify a B-triple as being different to a B-double if they passed it on a freeway," the ATA says.

"The ATA recommends that governments and road agencies undertake positive advertising campaigns to alert the public to the increased visibility of these combinations to mitigate the potential media beat-up that may surround the introduction of modular B-triples into new areas."

The ATA’s response points out B-triples will not be operating on quiet suburban streets, but will instead be broken down into smaller combinations on the outskirts of major cities.

The lobby group says local and state governments must inform the community of the benefits of B-triples, which are seen in the industry as a safe and productive option in meeting a burgeoning freight task.

"B-triples are about making the industry safer, and this must be the message from road agencies," the ATA says.

"Promoting the safety, productivity and environmental benefits of modular B-triples will assist in preventing some of the negative media that is often associated with longer, safer combinations."

Calling B-triples "a quantum leap in productivity and safety", the NTC estimates the rigs can reduce fatalities and drastically slash CO2 emissions and the number of trucks on the roads if given greater access to the network.

According to the NTC, B-triples have the potential to generate $1.1 billion in savings between 2011 and 2030.

The ATA says B-triples should also be permitted to operate on type 2 road networks and other roads that can support them.

"Network access to include all type 1 road train routes is sensible, and there are additional roads, such as the Hume Highway, that would provide an excellent platform for modular B-triple use. Modular B-triples should operate under notice as a Class 2 vehicle, just like B-doubles," the ATA says.

It has also backed the NTC recommendation opposing the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) as a condition of B-triple access. The ATA says type 1 road trains are not required to fit IAP devices and there is no reason why B-triples should be required to.

"There is simply no evidence that drivers of B-triples, or B-doubles and semi-trailers at higher mass limits, are any more inclined to travel off-route than drivers of type 1 road trains," it says.

The Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) wants a dual strategy recognising 35-metre and 36.5-metre B-triples.

The NTC will this month prepare a final policy proposal for the states and territories to vote on.

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