ATA joins the National Road Safety Partnership Program

When you hear about road fatalities involving trucks, you assume it’s the truck driver’s fault. There’s a generally negative attitude towards them, so it’s easy to see how those massive vehicles and their burly drivers could kill people on the roads. You’d be wrong though. Statistics show that in the majority of truck accidents, the other driver was at fault.

Truck drivers are well-versed in truck safety. It’s part of their job. They make sure they maintain safe braking distances from other cars, and that their vehicles are in top condition. Damage is repaired immediately and parts are frequently checked and replaced with compliant components.

However, other drivers and pedestrians are unsure of how to safely share the road with trucks. Their fear makes them overcompensate, which sometimes leads to worse accidents. For example, people nervous about driving behind a truck may rush to overtake. If they cut in front of a truck, it could be disastrous since the truck has no time to brake or veer.

Similarly, if they overtake the truck from a position in the truck’s blind spot, they could get squeezed off the road, or worse, smashed into a wall, a barrier, or another vehicle. And everyone will assume it was a result of careless truck driving.

This point was re-iterated by Jerome Carslake, the Manager of NRSPP. He affirmed that many people erroneously blame truck drivers for accidents involving their trucks when it’s often a result of unwise actions by pedestrians and drivers of smaller cars.

This is why it’s a milestone for the ATA (Australia Truckers Association) to join the NRSPP (National Road Safety Partnership Program). Stakeholders in trucking are taking steps to shift mind-sets towards them, and to enhance road safety in the process.

Trucksafe has also joined the NRSPP, in association with ATA. As a trucker-driven safety initiative, Trucksafe is a natural fit forthe NRSPP. They are already invested in ensuring truck safety standards and now they’re like to spread out their principles to other road users.

Trucksafe independently audits and accredits its members, raising the levels of professionalism and oversight within the industry. Beyond road safety, Trucksafe is involved in risk management and business propagation. It sets out a code of conduct for truck owners and drivers, and this code makes the roads safer and better.

Ben Maguire, CEO of the ATA, said the truck industry had a large role to play in minimising road trauma. He said it wasn’t just a traffic issue. It had an economic, financial, and social impact on the whole community. He mentioned some of the activities that the ATA would undertake as the newest member of the NRSPP.

The NRSPP is a collaborative effort, and its partners come from nationwide sectors with a stake in road safety. These stakeholders include car manufacturers, petroleum refineries, medical professionals, government institutions, freight companies, tourist boards, and private corporations.

They all have something to lose when the roads are unsafe, and they agree that it’s prudent to work together and prevent this automotive scourge. They deal with various causes and effects of accidents. In trucks, these range from non-compliant counterfeit parts and un-roadworthy vehicles to driver fatigue and poor road conditions.

Truck drivers should be keenon maintaining their trucks and sourcing the right parts. Cutting corners, especially on heavy vehicle parts, can be disastrous. However, in cases where a smaller car has caused the accident, it’s usually the result of ignorance. Drivers – especially young drivers – need more guidance and experience regarding heavy vehicles.

In 2018, the ATA will join in the Re: Act Initiative, run by the NSRPP. Thisone year programme will involve webinars and case studies that will guide other road users on safe interaction with trucks. Re:Act is short for Respond. Act. It’s a youth-for-youth programme designed by students and aimed at their peer aged 18 to 25.

It aims to help think things through, considering the impact of their actions on their community by widening their awareness of key social issues. In 2017, Re: Act explored drunk driving throughout, and in 2016, their campaign focused on mobile phone use while driving. These campaigns try to change behaviour by positively influencing young road users.