Freestone’s in lane departure technology push

Strategy for tackling unintentional lane drift on VTA agenda as company prepares to retrofit fleet

Freestone’s in lane departure technology push
Freestone’s Transport is retrofitting lane departure systems

Freestone’s Transport General Manager Jody Freestone is seeking to make the installation of lane departure warning systems (LDWS) mandatory in Australia.

And Freestone has the backing of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) to pursue the issue at an industry level.

The company says the decision follows the European Union’s (EU) move to mandate the installation of LDWS in all new trucks and buses last November.

"Freestone’s Transport is confident the move will result in the mandating of the installation of this technology as avoiding fatigue-related accidents is not only a focus of Chain of Responsibility under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, but an ever-present issue the industry as a whole has to manage," Freestone says.

"If LDWS technology saves just one life, it is worth it."

Freestone’s Transport concluded trials using WABCO’s OnLane LDWS in December and the entire fleet is expected to be fitted by July.

The firm went with WABCO as the technology provider offers a retrofit option.

Freestone believes that although Chain of Responsibility law requires businesses practices to identify, assess, control, monitor and review situations that put driver safety at risk by way of risk identification, risk assessment and risk control, it is not enough.

"Mandating LDWS technology will ensure Australia lowers its fatigue-related injuries and fatalities," she says.

"The goal is to cut the figure to zero, and we are committed to reaching this figure.

"Incidental lane drift currently costs the Federal Government $365 million every year. Mandating this technology will significantly reduce this figure."

The push is being tabled as a key issue at the next VTA General Freight Committee, on which Freestone is a sitting member.

VTA CEO Neil Chambers says he is motivated to take this up at an industry level and adds that LDWS is a fantastic device for all lane drift issues, not just as an anti-fatigue device.

"Unintentional lane drift is a huge issue," Chambers adds.

"It causes 14 per cent of all fatal crashes and 5,031 non-fatal injuries in Australia. They are huge figures.

"There are plenty of side-swipe accidents that are reported to us by police authorities all the time, and I am focused on responding to these concerns with the future mandating of this technology."

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