Promising figures in latest NTI crash stats

Rise in non-impact fires causes concern but overall interpretation for 2011 data points to improved performance

Promising figures in latest NTI crash stats
Promising figures in latest NTI crash stats
March 5, 2013

National Transport Insurance (NTI) has highlighted a sharp increase in engine and cab fires as a finding of concern in its latest bi-yearly Major Accident Investigation Report.

The company’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) recently concluded the investigation into 461 major crashes involving NTI-covered vehicles during 2011.

These had a combined cost of $54.7 million in claims exceeding $50,000 each.

While the overall crash figure is up, the report argues that, with a greater proportion of the nation’s fleet now on NTI’s books, "it could be argued that the current rate of 2.7 major crash incidents per [thousand] units, demonstrates a continuing improvement in crash rates".

"The report found that if researchers were to inflate the nominal $50,000 threshold of 2003 by the gazetted annual domestic inflation rate to 2011, the crash rate per [thousand] units has improved by 42.7 percent," its introduction states.

Another important finding was that of the
fatal multi-vehicle incidents in 2011 involving NTI-covered trucks, the percentage where the truck driver was found to be at fault was zero.

In 2009, it was 18 percent.

The good news also surrounds a fall in speed-related crashes, which, though still bad, fell from 31.8 percent in the report for 2009 to 25.4 percent.

However, the fires sounded alarm bells for study author and NTI National Manager, Industry Relations Owen Driscoll (pictured).

"One of the major concerns in this report is the number of serious accidents attributed to non-impact fires, such as engine and cabin fires," Driscoll says.

"This highlights the importance of rigorous and consistent maintenance in the day-to-day processes of all transport operations.

"In order to improve safety on our roads, we must first ensure the vehicles on our roads are safe."

Key statistics to come out of the report for NTI were:

Inappropriate speed for the conditions was found to be the leading cause of serious accidents at 25.4 percent. This is down from 31.8 percent in the previous report

12.1 percent of serious accidents were attributed to non-impact fires, with over 60 percent of these losses originating from engine and cabin fires. This is a marked increase from previous studies

The number of major losses has escalated in both Queensland and Western Australia

22.4 percent of serious truck crashes occurred on Australia’s National Highway 1. Queensland’s Bruce Highway was the worst with proportionally more incidents than any other major road

Western Australia’s Great Northern Highway continued to experience an increase in major truck crash frequency

The Hume is the best performing highway with the lowest frequency of major accidents

A copy of the report, which includes the contribution of heavy rigids for the first time, can be downloaded from the NTI website.

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