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Tailgating increases in freeway speed limit trial

May 26, 2017

VicRoads says it will ban trucks in the far right lane of Melbourne’s M1 Monash Freeway when widening works are completed later in the year.

This follows the sudden abandonment of a 90km/h speed limit trial for trucks on Melbourne’s Monash Freeway, implemented to improve vehicle safety, which reportedly had the opposite effect by increasing unsafe practices, such as tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic by drivers.

The speed limit trial for trucks ends on Sunday night (28 May).
VicRoads says its focus will now move to the second stage of the trial – a ban on trucks in the far right lane – once construction on the Monash Freeway Upgrade are completed between Noble Park and Mount Waverley later this year.

“We have learnt a lot very quickly from this trial that has helped us to work with industry to dramatically improve speed compliance on the Monash,” VicRoads Chief Executive John Merritt said.

VicRoads thanked the industry and individual trucking companies who took what it described as “strong action” in cases where drivers had been observed exceeding speed limits on multiple occasions.

Preliminary trial evaluation by the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) of two months of trial data that found:

  • the 90 km/h speed limit was being adhered to in all lanes but the fast lane (far right lane);
  • 831 fewer trucks a day on average used the right hand lane during the trial – a drop of 7% – yet traffic conditions in the right lane were worse with both cars and trucks leaving less headway between vehicles;
  • on some sections of the Monash between Noble Park and Mount Waverley, cars were equally and sometimes more aggressive than trucks in tailgating behaviour;
  • 42.6% of cars in the right hand lane were exceeding 100 km/h; and
  • the mean speed of trucks was lower than cars, most likely due to slower moving trucks within the traffic stream.

“With more than 200,000 trips made on the Monash freeway every day, it’s important that drivers of all vehicles behave safely on the roads and are less aggressive behind the wheel,” Mr Merritt said.

VicRoads will continue to analyse the full six months of the trial as it works with industry on the second and final stage – a truck ban in the right lane.

CoR challenges

Are you convinced that your business practices are not encouraging drivers of the heavy vehicles you use to speed to make deadlines or drive dangerously in order to fulfil their schedules?

Have you allowed additional time in your schedules for changes in speed limits and traffic conditions – such as bans in right hand lanes for trucks or reduced speed limits during long-term roadworks?

Not encouraging speeding is just one of your basic Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law – regardless of whether or not your own the vehicles being used to transport freight in your supply chain.

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