SARTA boss questions effectiveness of black boxes

By: Paul Howell


SARTA’s Steve Shearer fears push for mandatory black boxes in trucks will cost a lot and deliver little.

SARTA boss questions effectiveness of black boxes
SARTA executive director Steve Shearer says black boxes may not deter truck drivers from speeding.

 

At least one industry representative has declared mandatory black boxes for trucks are anything but a "no brainer".

South Australia Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive director Steve Shearer says the potential deterrence effects in particular have been overstated.

"Only a small percentage (of truck drivers) might be deterred from speeding if they were being effectively monitored," he tells ATN. "Most others only speed rarely and inadvertently.

"If they aren’t consciously doing something that they know is unsafe, you can’t deter them through monitoring."

He adds that the minority of intentional speeders are also the most willing to deliberately interfere with black box technology.

Shearer says the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ submission to the Senate Inquiry on road safety indicated a stereotyped, and incorrect, view of the transport industry.

"In 75 per cent of fatal car-truck accidents, it’s the motorist that is at fault, according to government studies in South Australia and federally," he says.

He says black box technology could provide a valuable and comprehensive data set for road safety bodies, but he doubted the ability or commitment of authorities to properly analyse it or implement truly data-based solutions.

"It would only be valuable if governments did something they’ve never done before, and take a much longer-term view of road safety and the road environment," he says.

Instead, he fears transport companies will be asked to pay the cost of black box technology in their vehicles, without any verifiable impact on road safety.

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