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Urgent action needed to improve industry safety

05 December 2019

The need for safer roads, better rest areas and improved driver training has prompted calls for Governments to take urgent action to improve industry safety. 

In a submission to the Senate road transport inquiry, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called on Governments to implement practical safety measures immediately, to combat the unacceptable number of fatal and serious injury crashes involving trucks. 

“The only acceptable number of crashes is zero,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said. 

“The trucking industry, drivers, governments and regulators have made progress in reducing the number of articulated truck crashes, however the total number of fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks is increasing. Action must be taken,” he said. 

The ATA submission has outlined the importance of implementing practical safety measures such as:

  • building safer roads and improving truck rest areas
  • mandating autonomous emergency braking for all new trucks and extending the electronic stability control requirement to all new rigid trucks
  • improving driver training and licensing
  • regulating freight matching platforms to ensure they are subject to chain of responsibility under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), and
  • implementing no-blame safety investigations for heavy vehicle crashes. 

“These actions would deliver safer roads, safer vehicles, safer people and safer systems and companies,” Mr Crouch said. 

The ATA has also warned of the implications of re-establishing the failed Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT). 

“Independent inquiries have found regulating rates of pay for owner drivers does not improve safety. Governments should not repeat the mistakes of the failed RSRT,” Mr Crouch said.

Mr Crouch said the submission also called for improved industry consultation and boosts to productivity. 

“Governments should use the ATA General Council as a consultation forum, as it includes representatives from 11 state and national industry sector associations, and also explore additional options for consulting with small businesses and owner drivers, such as the approach pioneered by the ATA-Big Rigs HVNL review ‘Have Your Say’ campaign,” Mr Crouch said. 

“Improvements to productivity can be made through encouraging the use of High Productivity Freight Vehicles and implementing a mandatory code of payment terms in the trucking industry,” he said. 

The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability. 

View the ATA submission