ATA backs NTI-NHVR roadworthiness report

Holistic safety approach seen as backed by NTI-NHVR stats analysis

ATA backs NTI-NHVR roadworthiness report
Melissa Weller

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) backs the findings of analysis of NTI and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) statistics showing a link between good maintenance of better safety outcomes.

The peak industry body insists that keeping well-maintained vehicles is key to trucking safety and productivity.

The point is reinforced following a report – Are good trucks the sign of a great operator? A special report into heavy vehicle roadworthiness – from transport insurer NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC), which, in ground-breaking work, identifies a correlation between the two.

"The report highlights a strong link between vehicle maintenance and keeping our drivers and community safe on the road," ATA safety, health and wellbeing director Melissa Weller says.  

"By examining key heavy vehicle maintenance areas such as brakes, wheels and couplings, the report shows us that operators with poorly maintained vehicles are more likely to be involved in road incidents and a greater number of insurance claims.

"That’s why it is so critical for trucking operators to have proper risk management systems in place, ensuring not only the safety of their own drivers and staff, but everyone who shares our roads."

Read about the findings of the NTI-NHVR report, here

ATA says it has long understood the importance of keeping vehicles well maintained, as demonstrated in its TruckSafe accreditation scheme.  

"Comprehensive accreditation standards like TruckSafe deliver significant benefits for trucking operators and the community, ensuring compliance with best-practice procedures in all business aspects," Weller adds. 

"Developed to ensure operators meet their chain of responsibility obligations in line with the Heavy Vehicle National Law, TruckSafe takes a holistic approach with heavy vehicle safety, with standards covering everything from vehicle maintenance right through to driver health and wellbeing. 

The ATA views such an approach as being supported by the report findings that suggest that operators with effective maintenance regimes may also have better general systems in place to manage risk within their business, such as fatigue and driver behaviour. 

"This report provides a shining example how looking after your vehicles ultimately means operators are looking after your staff, your community and your bottom line," Weller says.  

"The ATA congratulates NTI and the NHVR for completing this significant research project and demonstrating the importance of vehicle maintenance."

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) is intrigued by the report’s findings.

HVIA national policy and government relations manager Greg Forbes observed that no-one will be surprised that there is a correlation between roadworthiness and heavy vehicle crashes.

"Everyone intuitively expected this. What I found most interesting is that the report found the defects with the highest correlation were faults in couplings, wheels and tyres," Forbes says.

"This suggests that industry is not paying enough attention to the maintenance of these items.

"Now that this report is out and has highlighted these issues, I think it puts pressure on operators to prove that they have adequate maintenance practices in these areas to discharge their Chain of Responsibility obligations.

"If I was an operator, I would be talking to my coupling, wheel and tyre providers to ensure my practices are up to scratch."

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