More trucks running red lights, researcher says

University researcher says more trucks are running red lights and has called for drivers' mentality to change

By Ruza Zivkusic | April 14, 2011

More trucks are running red lights in Victoria, according to a university academic who says more must be done to change drivers’ mentalities.

The senior researcher at Monash University’s Accident Research Centre, Dr Bruce Corben, says studies he has conducted over the past 15 years show an increase in the number of drivers ignoring red lights.

Corben says the practice is one of the reasons why more people are being killed in heavy vehicle accidents in Victoria. Fifty percent more people were killed last year than the year before, with 60 dying in crashes – up from 40 the previous year.

"My view would be that it is continuing," Corben says of drivers running red lights.

"Fifty fatalities per year related to heavy vehicles is a big enough problem to say we should look seriously at it and see what the opportunities are to reduce the figure and contain it," he says.

"The police are very well placed to look at these sorts of crashes in great detail, hopefully that will lead into some insights that we wouldn’t otherwise get."

Victoria Police has set up a unit to investigate the incidents, while Corben says road design and speed limits must also be addressed.

Corben says there is a tendency among truck drivers to continue going through a red light because it is harder for them to pull up in the same distance as a motorist.

He has also attributed blame to the tight schedules drivers are under.

"The drivers of heavy vehicles are operating on tight time schedules and I guess the potential to lose what they might regard as valuable seconds by being caught at a red light is perhaps a motivating factor," he says.

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