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ATA Policy Manager to address top US safety research facility

04 February 2011

The National Manager Policy at Australia’s peak trucking industry body, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), has been invited to speak at one the world’s leading research facilities into heavy vehicle safety.

David Coonan has accepted an invitation to address staff and students at the University of Michigan’s Transport Research Institute (UMTRI) on 22 and 23 February, 2011.

Based at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, UMTRI is a public facility committed to research that will ultimately increase driving safety and further transportation systems knowledge.

UMTRI is currently operating a $13.7 million research program with 141 staff. Its research significantly impacts highway transportation practices in the United States and internationally.

Mr Coonan will present two sessions to the institute, the first on the ATA’s work on innovative combinations and the second of the safe systems approach to transport planning.

“The ATA’s work on innovative combinations such as BAB Quads and AB Triples is of great interest to the staff at UMTRI,” Mr Coonan said.

“To many in the US, the road train is an iconic symbol of the Australian trucking industry. I’ll be showing staff and students at UMTRI how we are working to improve on the classic design of the road train to improve safety and efficiency in the Australian market.

“The new innovative combinations the ATA are promoting are safer by design than traditional road trains, because their road stability is much better.

 “Similarly, the work the ATA has undertaken on the safe systems approach to transport planning will be of interest to UMTRI.

“The safe systems approach recognises that drivers will make mistakes; after all, they are only human. As a result, the ATA is urging transport authorities to use the five key points of safer roads, safer drivers, safer trucks, safer companies and safer customers when planning transport systems.

“The opportunity to speak at UMTRI is a great honour and shows the work the ATA is doing to improve safety on Australia’s roads is being recognised by leaders in transport safety internationally.

“The opportunity will also allow the ATA to share knowledge with staff at UMTRI, which will have a direct benefit to the Australia trucking industry.”

Whilst in North America, Mr Coonan will also attend the American Trucking Associations’ Technical and Maintenance Conference and meet with leaders of some of America’s biggest trucking suppliers.