Regional Vic in virtual reality truck awareness initiative


Program aimed at young people’s interaction with heavy vehicles

Regional Vic in virtual reality truck awareness initiative
Margaret O’Rourke

 

The City of Greater Bendigo in Victoria is facilitating a road user education program, called #GetTruckWise, using virtual reality to improve young people’s awareness around heavy vehicles on regional roads.

The campaign is in conjunction with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Bendigo Tech School (BTS) and a number of local operators to help reduce the number of accidents and deaths involving young people driving near heavy vehicles, for which it secured $250,000 federal funding via the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The local council says road safety was the number one concern among truck drivers and operators in the City’s 2017 Bendigo Freight Study: How goods are moved around Greater Bendigo.

Recent figures also reveal 80 per cent of accidents involving young drivers interacting with heavy vehicles occurred on the highway network, and a quarter of accidents between cars and articulated trucks involved drivers 25 years or under.

The pilot campaign, said to be one of the first of its kind in Australia, is being developed now for a 2020 launch, targeting young drivers aged 16-25 years old using 360-degree videos and virtual reality to create an ‘immersive experience’ and help them understand the importance of driving safely around heavy vehicles.

It will highlight the challenges for truck drivers involved in manoeuvring and turning long vehicles on the roads and the extent of their blind spot.   

Local freight operators – including A&M Stone, Agri-Trans, Powers Country Express; and RKM Transport – have offered access to their vehicles and contribute real life on-road experiences to the campaign.


Read more about the program changing young drivers' attitudes around trucks, here


City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke says freight operators were concerned that young drivers were putting themselves at risk because of a lack of understanding of how to behave when they encountered heavy vehicles on the road.

"There is a major gap in current practical and educational material to help young drivers improve their skills behind the wheel and instill safe habits," O’Rourke says.

"The City will lead the #GetTruckWise campaign and we hope that through this unique collaboration with our partners we can engage with young drivers and help to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities."

The campaign received a tick approval from the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV)

"We know this is an important and overdue initiative that will help save young lives," LRTAV vice president Marla Stone says.

 

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