ARRB puts spotlight back on truck rollovers


Awareness effort driven by perceived lack of national analysis

ARRB puts spotlight back on truck rollovers
ARRB's course aims to promote road trauma prevention

 

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is shining a light on heavy vehicle rollover collisions, spurred by its concern over a lack of broader understanding on the issue.

Expanding on VicRoads’ heavy vehicle rollover prevention program, the Victorian Department of Transport-endorsed Heavy Truck Rollover Course is to explore the impact of truck rollover crashes, root causes and effects, and practical mitigation measures for future prevention.

The course will include an introduction to heavy vehicles and basic principles, mass limits, crash statistics, investigation and reconstruction, vehicle dynamics and safety assistance technologies.

ARRB cites statistics identifying 800 crashes involving a heavy vehicle in Victoria in 2019, with some 100 of these (12.5 per cent) involving a rollover event.

Otherwise, ARRB is concerned about a dearth of a national data set on heavy vehicle rollovers.


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"We are currently unable to provide a current national picture of the heavy vehicle rollover problem," an ARRB paper on the matter notes.

"The annual reports about heavy truck crashes do not reveal any information about the prevalence, cause and location of rollover crashes which plague Australia annually."

As part of its awareness push on truck rollovers, ARRB promotes the need for a national crash investigation body in Australia that systematically investigates heavy vehicle crashes.

"You don't want to do an aircraft style investigation but there needs to a happy medium which at least documents the kind of vehicle, the speeds involved, how much experience the driver had, and  the road environment," ARRB principal professional leader – transport safety Tia Gaffney says.

"That minimal amount of data collection needs to happen, then [decided] whether or not that crash then needs to be escalated.

"Once we see [certain themes], we do need to go to industry, talk about things like changing ADRs [Australian Design Rules], talk about policy."

Gaffney, a mechanical engineer who has worked in transport safety and investigations for nearly 20 years, is co-leading ARRB’s efforts on truck rollovers.

"It's really a chronic problem all over the world, not just in Australia.

"Having been investigating crashes for as long as I have, it's a common occurrence to see a truck that rolled and the driver is usually fatally or seriously injured.

"That’s what spurs the questions about why that's happening.

"[The course is about] awareness first and foremost and then ultimately reducing the number of truck rollovers that there are, and injuries and fatalities to those drivers."

The workshop is to be held in March, with more information here.

ATN will cover the issue in a later edition.

 

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