Safety tech needs guiding hand

ARRB chief says stability control and lane departure warning systems should be standard kit for all heavy vehicles

Safety tech needs guiding hand
ARRB Group's Gerard Waldron wants to see all 90,000 articulated trucks in Australia equipped with the latest safety technology


ARRB managing director Gerard Waldron says there is a sound business case for further investment in heavy vehicle safety technology, when national savings from road trauma are taken into consideration.

He is calling on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to mandate driver assist systems and technology solutions in all registered articulated trucks in Australia.

"The 90,000 articulated trucks in Australia make up just 0.5 per cent of registered vehicles, but account for 10 per cent of fatal collisions," he tells ATN. "Those crashes come with an associated cost of $2.7 billion."

Waldron predicts that by including technology such as lane departure systems, stability control, and electronic rollover protection in trucks, the full national road toll could be reduced by up to four per cent. He says the total investment required would be in the region of $1.1 billion, and could be balanced out by national healthcare and emergency work savings within two years.

Waldron is quick to agree that relatively few crashes involving heavy vehicles are the fault of the truck driver involved. But from a national perspective, he says articulated trucks offer the best possible return on increased safety technology investment.

The problem is who should pay for that technology. Waldron says there are plenty of incentives for trucking companies to invest around $12,000 per a truck for new technology and upgrades, and many are already doing this.

Protecting staff from road trauma and ensuring a positive reputation in the community are important considerations, he says.

Customers should also be expected to come on board. Through Chain of Responsibility legislation, they now have direct responsibility for heavy vehicle safety and should be prepared to pay slightly higher rates for safe, professional delivery services.

"Every dollar driven down is a dollar not being spent on improving the safety of fleets," Waldron says.

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