NatRoad critiques researchers' take on safety investigation

Clark says new COR laws can best assess parties responsible for managing risk

NatRoad critiques researchers' take on safety investigation
Clark responds to 'contradictory' comments made by researchers.


Last week, two senior accident researchers called for a change in truck accident investigations.

In an opinion piece published by The Conversation website titled 'Don’t just blame the driver – there’s more than one cause of fatal truck crashes', Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) senior research fellow Sharon Newnam and University of the Sunshine Coast senior research fellow Natassia Goode stated that present heavy focus on drivers is narrow and simplistic.

However, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is not entirely pleased with all the arguments made in the article.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says while attempting to deflect blame from truck drivers the researchers have made contradictory comments that, in turn, put the blame back on truckies.

While suggesting the public should stop blaming truck drivers for fatal accidents, the article states that incentive-based pay contributes to dangerous driving, Clark says.

"The statistics confirm that truck drivers are not to blame for the majority of incidents. 

"However, saying that drivers are in the frame for their 'dangerous driving behaviours' raises the very factor the researchers want to discount.

"The facts are that in recently published research by the National Truck Accident Research Centre it was shown that in collisions involving fatalities in the 2015 year the truck was not at fault on 93 per cent of occasions.

"The idea that mandating rates of pay automatically improves safety on the road is a myth, one that has been exposed by at least three well-researched reports, including by the Productivity Commission.

"It’s time to move on from the safe rates debate and to institute better accident investigation practices.

"It is time to fully support the new chain of responsibility laws that will come into force this year, laws which spread the responsibility for controlling on-road risk to other parties in the supply chain. 

"These laws will do exactly what the researchers suggest – take the heat off the driver and place responsibility for controlling risk with the party best able to take that step."

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