According to the 2011 report from the National Truck Accident Research Centre, truck crashes are becoming less common.
RTA spokesperson, Pam Owens said, “Despite the risks truckies are undertaking [to maintain deadlines] major crashes have progressively been lowering, I think this is in part due to the awareness that is growing about this issue and its media coverage.”
The report claims that 1 in 2 heavy vehicle crashes were due to fatigue and speed.
Owens said, “It’s the penalties enforced by trucking companies over freight deadlines that lead to ‘truckies’ taking unnecessary measures.”
The report explains the decrease in overall crash numbers compared to its previous bi-annual reports starting in 2003. The report highlights that statistically major incidents are at the lowest figure yet with only 2500 known crashes.
Freight companies competitive nature should be blamed for these tight deadlines said one anonymous truckie.
“I reckon if our bosses weren’t trying to get and keep their contracts our deadlines would be more flexible, but the way it is we have to keep pushing to keep them happy.”
While heavy vehicle drivers are under pressure from their companies they are also unjustly under fire from other road users. Public opinion views road freight as a hazard to other drivers. However the Accident Investigation Report contrasts this opinion by highlighting that in 82% of fatal heavy vehicle crashes involving another vehicle it wasn’t the truck drivers fault.
NRMA roadside mechanic, Bill Whilem said that car drivers could be more dangerous.
“A lot of the time it’s a car that starts an issue,” Mr Whilem said.
“They decide to take an unnecessary risk just to get in front of the truck. And that’s when it all begins to go wrong.”
Primarily through awareness of the issue, crash statistics have dropped to the lowest figures in the last 10 years.
WORDS BY: Thom Farquhar
PHOTOS BY: Sophie Harris
VIDEO BY: Mylee Hogan