Call to tackle motorists on safety around trucks

Review of Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program supports campaign and rest area spending

June 14, 2012

A review has advised a safe driving campaign for motorists be undertaken, focusing on behaviour around heavy vehicles.

The idea is part of a Deloitte Touche Tomatsu review that has given the Federal Government a thumbs-up for the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) - at least, at this early stage.

The review also backs the short-term measure of using blue reflectors to define ‘unofficial driver rest areas’ at informal rest area sites and the introduction of the motorist safety campaign.

The program is part of the Nation Building Program and aims to provide states and territories with funds to develop rest areas, parking and decoupling bays, road enhancements and technology trials.

While the response from state governments was glowing, the report found industry backing the program’s performance as well, though improvements could still be made.

"General consensus among industry respondents was positive with respect to the HVSPP, respondents indicated that more programs were needed," the report states.

"Feedback indicated that there was a preference for new heavy vehicle-related safety and productivity infrastructure over the improvement of existing sites."

The review finds rest-area designs from the program were considered to have improved segregation of drivers from general traffic.

"Industry respondents favoured increased allocation towards safet-related projects by two-thirds – the HSVPP allocated 61 percent of total funds towards safety-related projects, which appears to have met industry expectations.

"Industry respondents requested to be more involved in the planning a design phases of future projects."

Industry was also keen on a road safety education campaign to reflect the preponderance of private motorist fault in heavy vehicle-related accidents.

Despite this, the review found that it was too early to gauge the program’s effectiveness in reducing fatigue-related accidents, given that only 93 percent of Round 1 and 47 percent of Round 2 projects were operational.

However, it recommends continuation of such safety related projects.

It advises the Federal Government to request more research from recipient road authorities to identify and determine a proportion of priorty areas in need of read infrastructure investments and to inform the planning a design stages of approved projects.

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