ATA reinforces no-blame crash investigation call

Association outlines vision for National Road Safety Governance Review

ATA reinforces no-blame crash investigation call
Focus on improving safety outcomes rather apportioning blame, says ATA


The National Road Safety Governance Review, of which the terms of reference were unveiled by transport minister Michael McCormack recently, needs to consider the provision of independent, no-blame safety investigations for road crashes involving heavy vehicles, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

The ATA is also calling for the federal government to extend the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to include serious truck crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned, moving away from an approach apportioning blame or liability.

It is a drum the ATA has been beating for a number of years, having urged the establishment of a national no-blame accident investigation capacity for fatal truck crashes, similar to the approach taken for aviation, marine and rail accidents, back in 2013.

Read more about those calls, supported by the NTI, here

The ATA welcomes the terms of reference, which is says demonstrates a government commitment to improving road safety outcomes.

"However, in addition to improving the road safety governance structure, we believe the review should include a focus on extending the role of the ATSB and addressing this institutional capacity gap," ATA CEO Ben Maguire adds.

"Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important to ensure no stone is left unturned in reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads."

The review process is the next step in implementing the recommendations of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 Inquiry and will include consultations with all levels of government across Australia, parties in the transport space, the private sector and community, with a draft report to be released in March.

"Co-ordination across State, Territory and Local governments will be the cornerstone of improving the governance arrangements around road safety and this was reinforced at the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in November 2018," McCormack says.

"The Review outcomes will also help to progress the Australian Government’s strategic infrastructure plan where $75 billion is being invested in projects big and small, over the next 10 years to improve transport infrastructure to help Australians and their families arrive at their destinations sooner and safer."

The review will also consider what steps are required for governments and stakeholders to lead the implementation of the "Vision Zero" goal of reducing road fatalities to zero by 2050.

The ATA says it set out 19 recommendations in a submission to the inquiry, including better roads and truck rest areas, fatigue law reform and better education for learner drivers about how they can share the road safely with trucks.

"Until we reach a point where there are zero fatalities and injuries on our roads, the government needs to consider practical approaches to improving road safety, as we have recommended and include these in the review," Maguire says.


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