Right lane bans challenged by industry

Photography by: Greg Bush


NatRoad CEO asks if light vehicles to blame for truck restrictions, laments heavy vehicle productivity loss

Right lane bans challenged by industry
Closure of right lanes to trucks can cause disruption, says NatRoad's Warren Clark

 

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has questioned the emerging prevalence of right-hand lane bans on trucks in Australia.

On October 3, the Victorian government announced it would make permanent right-hand lane restrictions on the Monash Freeway following a six-month trial, citing a crash reduction rate of almost 40 per cent in that time.

Restrictions will continue to apply to trucks travelling in both directions between Huntingdale Road, Mount Waverley and Jacksons Road, Noble Park.


Upgrades progress on Monash Freeway but bans persist. Read more, here


Similar bans were then announced in New South Wales on October 10, with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) starting a 12-month trial of heavy vehicle lane restrictions on the M1 Motorway between Wahroonga and Kariong from November 1.

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) will monitor and evaluate the NSW trial, which RMS has developed "based on similar trials in Victoria and Queensland".

But NatRoad CEO Warren Clark bemoans the lack of alternative road safety solutions and truck drivers being punished for "the poor driving habits of light vehicles" with further restrictions.

"What is needed is a better understanding of the way you drive when you share the road with a heavy vehicle," Clark says.

"Members have given us feedback that the closure of the lane can cause disruption, especially where light vehicles slow to exit and cut in on heavy vehicles to gain access to left lanes particularly just before off-ramps."

"VicRoads has a report on the closure and has shared the results. We understand that there was a reduction in serious crashes from 18 to 11 when comparing the six-month period of the trial in 2018 against a six-month period in 2017.

"In terms of compliance, 98 per cent of heavy vehicle drivers have complied with the restriction.

"What is now needed is the development of better metrics for whether measures of this kind really work."

On the NSW trial, Clark says Natroad will be liaising with RMS about future developments post the trial period.

"Ultimately the community suffers when road restrictions are placed on vehicles delivering vital goods. The effect of restrictions affects heavy vehicle productivity which damages the entire community.

"NatRoad will continue to work with VicRoads and the RMS to get better road safety outcomes for all road users and to get feedback about the ongoing effects of the closures."

 

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