Saving more lives on Aussie roads

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 24, 2019

The Australian Trucking Association is a step closer to saving more lives on the road, after welcoming Australian Government funding to redesign the Volvo ATA Safety Truck.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced the $400,000 in funding, which will contribute to the redesign of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck, a road safety exhibition that has been in operation since 2008. The exhibition was last updated in 2013.

The new Safety Truck and campaign will deliver an engaging hands-on experience that puts young road users in a virtual driver‘s seat to experience the realities of truck driving, to learn how to keep safe around trucks on the road. This will be supported by informative, small group presentations that reinforce safety messages and drive behavioural change.

“Deputy Prime Minister McCormack understands the importance of road safety and our common vision of zero fatal or serious injury crashes on our roads. I am delighted to accept the funding, knowing that it will save lives,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said.

“The new campaign will specifically target 16- to 25-year-old drivers and vulnerable road users, as they are over-represented in crash statistics,” he said.

Official estimates show that about 80 percent of fatal multi-vehicle crashes involving trucks are not the fault of the truck driver.

Twenty-five percent of the people involved in casualty crashes with trucks are aged 26 years or younger, although this age group only represents 10 to 15 percent of the driver population.

The ATA‘s award-winning safety and skills adviser, Melissa Weller, is leading the project.

“The refreshed Safety Truck will deliver its messages through videos, virtual reality and small group presentations. It will focus on truck blind spots, stopping distances, overtaking procedures and the risks associated with driver, pedestrian and cyclist distraction,” Weller said.

Weller said the project would be supported by ongoing research and evaluation.  

“We are going to work with academic road safety researchers to design and implement a study that will assess road safety trends and allow us to measure the impact of the Safety Truck on on-road behaviour and statistics,” she said.