The Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, says that despite a reduction in road trauma caused by heavy vehicle crashes across Australia, heavy vehicles are still disproportionately involved in fatal crashes.
He says the Federal Government is continuing to invest record funding in road safety infrastructure and programs in an effort to reduce national road trauma.
Minister Chester says the government’s investment in rest stops and regulating for safer heavy vehicles are key approaches to reducing deaths and serious injuries from road crashes.
According to the Minister, driver fatigue was recognised as one of the big factors involved in major crashes, particularly in Australia’s rural and remote areas. “A recent study found that the risk of a heavy vehicle being involved in a crash significantly increases if the driver has driven for more than four hours without a break,” Mr Chester said.
“Our government is responding to this challenge with a commitment of $288 million over seven years to 2019-20 to the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme (HVSPP) under which State, territory and local governments are being supported to enhance the capacity of existing roads and improve connections to freight networks,” he said.
As CoR Bulletin reported last week, the Federal Government is also providing $828,000 over two years to the National Transport Commission for a heavy vehicle driver fatigue research project which aims to inform the design of future fatigue arrangements for the heavy vehicle industry.
Developing the rules
Minister Chester said work was continuing on further developing the Australian Design Rules to ensure that new heavy vehicles entering the Australian market support improved road safety outcomes, including implementation of the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy.
“These and other major road infrastructure and safety programs being funded by the Coalition Government – including the Black Spots Programme, the Bridges to Renewal Programme and the Roads to Recovery Programme – are all part of a concerted effort to reduce crashes, and the trauma they cause, right around Australia,” he said.
On a positive note, the Minister noted that fatalities in crashes involving articulated trucks have been trending down at approximately five per cent a year over the past decade.
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Finally, the CoR Adviser team wishes you and your family a safe and happy Christmas break and we look forward to keeping you up to date with CoR activities in 2017.
The CoR Adviser Team