New ATA Chair tackles safety challenge

New chair responds to NTARC accident investigation report

New ATA Chair tackles safety challenge
David Smith


David Smith's first move as the new Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair has been to emphasise industry’s road safety challenge and his association's steps to address it.

Acquainting himself to the role a day after his election to replace the outgoing Geoff Crouch, Smith says the latest truck crash statistics have highlighted the need for urgent action on safety, education and improved infrastructure.

He references the National Transport Insurance (NTI’s) National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) Major Accident Investigation 2020 report, which outlines a rise in the number of truck driver deaths in 2019 compared to the two years prior.

Smith says the report demonstrates a need to improve truck driver safety through increased education, improved business safety practices, and better transport infrastructure.

"This report tells us that we must never become complacent when it comes to safety," Smith says.

"An important finding in the report is that 80 per cent of all serious crashes involving cars and trucks were the fault of the car driver.

"This highlights the need to educate light vehicle drivers about how to share the road safely with trucks, which is the core focus of the ATA’s road safety exhibition SafeT360.  

"Through its travelling exhibition and online resources, SafeT360 educates young road users by putting them in the virtual driver’s seat. It is providing the hands-on experience and knowledge that is not offered by learner driver programs."

The report also found that two thirds of crashes were a result of fatigue or distraction, with Smith reiterating ATA’s long-term calls for improved and more frequent rest areas along roads and highways, "which would ensure that drivers have spaces to take proper breaks and manage their fatigue effectively".

"The ATA is also a strong advocate for operator accreditation, like our award-winning TruckSafe scheme, which promotes better fatigue management practices, better fitness for duty and driver health monitoring, and more comprehensive safety policies and procedures," Smith adds.

He also urges the implementation of no-blame safety investigations to better understand the cause of heavy vehicle crashes

"Since 2013, the ATA has been arguing for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate crashes involving heavy vehicles.

"The trucking industry needs more knowledge about the causes of crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned."


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