NTI releases latest truck accident report

Fatigue questions asked, while fire losses dip somewhat

NTI releases latest truck accident report
Part of the report cover


The foreshadowed but still keenly awaited 2017 National Truck Accident Research Report has been released by the National Transport Insurance (NTI)-backed National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC).

While some details has been aired at industry forums during the year, the whole biennial package gives a fascinating insight into trends and developments while asking searching questions of policymakers.

High on the list is fatigue, which has shown a stubborn reluctance to continue being an improving factor.

While September 2008 heavy vehicle driving hours reform saw a "considerable improvement" in fatigue-based losses, that is seen to have stalled.

"With this current finding of 12.2% we have seen neither an improvement nor deterioration in the fatigue result since the last report," it states.

"The question is: With this result and similar findings since 2009, are we prepared to tolerate this outcome as the new acceptable standard for fatigue related major accidents?

"We are cognisant of the fact that if the driver does retire for rest and does not experience quality sleep, even a short period of driving can be affected by fatigue.

"It also raises questions of the effectiveness placed on a prescriptive driver hour’s manual or electronic log books, when compared to the real benefits of astute driver management, fatigue training and regular driver health monitoring, which also encompasses sleep disorders."

On a more positive note, non-impact fire losses broke their run of rises, returning to 2011 levels.

However, the incidence of engine/cabin fires, which drove the growth in numbers through the past decade and often involve the electrical systems, is still in record territory, while trailer and wheel bearing losses have subsided somewhat.

"Reported losses during 2015 show that over 9% of major losses were again attributable to fire," the report notes.

"This result was a marginal improvement on the previous study, however fires still accounted for one in ten large losses.

"In 65% of those losses, the source of ignition energy was found to have been restricted to the truck cabin or engine bay area and, within such losses where ignition was supressed to the cabin or engine bay, over 60% were attributed to electrical failure."

Authored by NTARC head and NTI national manager, industry relations Owen Driscoll with editorial advice from industry expert and associate professor Kim Hassall, the biannual report examines statistics of crashes resulting in claims of $50,000 or more from two years earlier.

NTI claims centres throughout Australia managed 606 major crash incidents which accounted or $85.4m in settlements and approximately 7.5 per cent of all claims by number

The full report can be found here.


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