Productivity commission backs ATA approach to truck crash investigation

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 18, 2019

A new report from the Productivity Commission has backed calls from the Australian Trucking Association for better investigations into truck crashes. 

The Draft Productivity Commission report on national transport regulatory reform has recommended that the Australian Government should engage the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to undertake a defined, targeted trial of incident investigation for heavy vehicles. 

“The ATA has long argued that the ATSB should undertake independent, no-blame safety investigations of crashes involving trucks and autonomous vehicles,” ATA chair Geoff Crouch said. 

If the trial is successful, the report recommends the government amend the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 to confirm investigation of incidents involving heavy vehicles as a function of the ATSB. The report also recommends the ATSB‘s role should be extended to include any incident where autonomous technologies at or above SAE level 3 autonomy may have been involved.

Crouch said the weight of expert evidence and support for extending the role of the ATSB was clear. 

“The ATA has consistently raised the importance of extending ATSB investigations into truck crashes, especially as levels of driving automation increase,” he said.

“The ATA recommended to the Productivity Commission that the role of the ATSB should be extended to provide independent, no-blame, safety investigations for road crashes involving heavy vehicles.”

The ATA‘s position was also reflected in the inquiry into the national road safety strategy, which recommended the need for a national investigative regime for road crashes similar to the ATSB. 

“Extending the role of the ATSB would ensure no stone is left unturned in reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads,” Crouch said.

“This is a practical approach to improving road safety that supports the ATA and Australian Government vision of zero fatalities and injuries on our roads. 

“The draft Productivity Commission recommendation highlights the effectiveness of the ATA‘s rigorous, evidence-based approach to representing our members in Canberra and the strength of our case.”