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Ugly rise in heavy rigid fatal crashes continues

Good news is that articulated truck figures remain on a downward path


The bad news on fatal crashes involving heavy-rigid trucks shows no sign of abating and hopes at the start of last year that the trend may have peaked have been dashed.

The April-June edition of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ (BITRE) Fatal Heavy Vehicle Crashes – Quarterly Bulletins shows heavy rigid fatal crashes increased 5.3 per cent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier and increased by an average of 2.8 per cent per year over the three years to June 2015.

The outcome is in contrast with fatal crashes involving articulated trucks, which decreased 16.5 per cent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier and decreased by an average of 5.9 per cent per year over the same three years to June. 

Articulated truck fatal crashes this decade have now fallen by more than a quarter since June 2010 and are at the same level as the third calendar quarter of 2013.

This is due largely to a 36.4 per cent fall over the past 12 months in Queensland and a 27.3 per cent fall in the same period in New South Wales, leavened somewhat by a four per cent rise in Victoria.


Jun 2015Chart


The average percentage change over three years to June show a 19.3 per cent improvement in NSW and 8 per cent improvement in Queensland, while Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia went the other way to the tune of 9.7 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 14.7 per cent respectively.

For heavy rigids in the past 12 months, only NSW holds any high ground with a 23.1 per cent fall in fatal crashes, though this is coloured by a 5.4 per cent rise over the past three years,

In contrast, Queensland saw such crashes rise 18.2 per cent in 12 months but fall 16 per cent over the past three years.

Victoria did a sad double, rising 29.4 per cent in 12 months and 16 per cent in three years but that rise comes after four years of declining numbers at the start of the decade.

State road authorities point out that with statistically small numbers per state that can be subject to wild swings and changes in vehicle demographics, reasons for trends can be difficult to pin down.

The fact remains that during the 12 months to the end of June 2015, 213 people died from 182 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks or buses.

These included:

  • 108 deaths from 91 crashes involving articulated trucks
  • 89 deaths from 79 crashes involving heavy rigid trucks
  • 19 deaths from 15 crashes involving buses.
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