RTA outlines plans to get truck drivers to buckle up

Industry, government and TWU join forces to encourage greater seatbelt use, as RTA plans five-prong approach to make it happen

September 6, 2011

The NSW roads department is planning a number of initiatives to encourage more truck drivers to wear seatbelts to prevent road fatalities.

The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is looking at a five-pronged approach, including encouraging companies to introduce policies getting drivers to buckle up.

It will also carry out observational surveys of seatbelt use, research into why drivers are not wearing them and develop a broad advertising campaign targeting the issue.

Furthermore, the RTA is also planning to publish a heavy vehicle safety publication about integrated seatbelts to educate operators and drivers.

Joining with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Road Freight Advisory Council, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay urged drivers to wear seatbelts to arrest "alarming" road fatality figures.

"Despite the fact it’s been mandatory for truck drivers to wear a seatbelt since 2000, half the heavy vehicle drivers killed on NSW roads in the past three years were not wearing a seatbelt," he says.

"Seat belts save lives and reduce injuries – it’s that simple. RTA figures show a much higher proportion of heavy vehicle drivers killed and injured in crashes do not wear a seatbelt compared to light vehicle drivers.

"These numbers are alarming and this is why we are reminding drivers to wear their seatbelt and make a simple decision which could save their life."

Gay says the first step to reduce fatalities is to understand why drivers choose not wear a seatbelt. He says many drivers believe their safety will be compromised in a crash and they will be trapped if they are strapped in.

"The RTA has also found that many drivers find certain types of restraints which are fitted in their vehicle to be uncomfortable. We need to address these concerns and investigate what other issues are stopping drivers from wearing a seatbelt," Gay says.

The RTA will work with the Road Freight Advisory Council and the TWU to examine solutions. Road Freight Advisory Council Chairman Ron Finemore AO says he is looking forward to working on initiatives to prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries.

"Fatalities involving heavy vehicles have been declining over the last ten years and initiatives like this will help to continue that trend," he says.

"It’s important for industry organisations and transport operators to work with the RTA to promote seatbelt wearing and to address any concerns of drivers who do not wear seatbelts when driving a truck."

TWU NSW Secretary Wayne Forno says it is important for the union to get a better understanding of why drivers are not buckling up. He says the RTA initiatives will help operators work with their employees to address drivers’ concerns.

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