SARTA puts onus on motorists to show more respect

Lack of awareness from motorists is putting them and truck drivers at risk, SARTA says

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | April 18, 2013

Truck drivers in South Australia are under constant attack from reckless drivers whose lack of truck awareness is putting them at risk, an industry leader claims.

South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Executive Director Steve Shearer says he is sick of hearing about the industry being blamed for accidents when figures show heavy vehicles are responsible for just one in four fatal crashes involving a passenger vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.

He is calling on motorists to take their time, saying they need to show more respect around trucks.

Shearer hopes a new road safety campaign called Share the Road, which aims to educate drivers how to safely overtake trucks and maintain travelling distances, will work.

"Seventy-seven people were killed in the last five years in South Australia in car truck accidents. Fifty-eight of those people could still be alive if motorists hadn’t made bad decisions around trucks," Shearer says.

"That’s a lot of people and it’s a lot of people who did things either out of frustration or ignorance about the amount of space that trucks need and how long it takes to overpass a driver.

"You’d think it’d be pretty obvious that trucks are longer so they take longer to pass but it’s amazing the number of people who get out there who do not realise how hard it’d be to pass a truck."

During his 20-year-long career in the transport industry, Shearer says the trend of media reporting on trucks has changed for the better.

Where previously the truck would have been portrayed to be at fault, the media is nowadays making more accurate reports, he says.

"The poor old truck driver is not suffering the added stress of getting the public blame for something they haven’t done. For decades it’s been very frustrating that the reporting blames the truck driver all the time," he says.

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