The managing director of ARRB (Australian Road Research Board) Gerard Waldron wants stability control and lane departure warning systems to be made mandatory for all heavy vehicles in Australia.
According to Mr Waldron all 90,000 articulated trucks in the country should be equipped with the latest safety technology in order to improve road safety.
In fact according to Mr Waldron the move would be good for business because further investment in heavy vehicle technology would result in national savings from reduction in road trauma.
As a result Waldron has called on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to make these driver assist systems and technology solutions mandatory in all registered articulated trucks in the country.
Mr Waldron was quoted in an article on Fullyloaded.com.au recently stating,
“The 90,000 articulated trucks in Australia make up just 0.5 per cent of registered vehicles, but account for 10 per cent of fatal collisions,” he tells ATN. “Those crashes come with an associated cost of $2.7 billion.”
Some of the technology Waldron believes should be implemented includes lane departure systems, stability control and electronic rollover protection in trucks.
He believes that by introducing these technologies to all heavy vehicles, the full national road toll could be reduced by up to four per cent.
According to Waldron a total investment of $1.1billion would be required but would be balanced out by savings in national healthcare and emergency services in just 2 years.
Mr Waldron agrees that most crashes that involve heavy vehicles aren’t caused by the truck driver but he says introducing increased safety technology in articulated trucks offers the best return on investment, from a national perspective.
However the question of who should pay for this increased technology use remains contentious. Waldron says that there are numerous incentives for trucking companies to invest around $12,000 per truck for introducing new technology and improving existing technology. Many operators are already in the process of doing this.
Mr Waldron says the priority should be to protect workers from road trauma and to “ensure a positive reputation in the community”.
He thinks customers should be included in this because currently under Chain of Responsibility legislation they too have a direct responsibility for heavy vehicle road safety. Waldron believes customers should be willing to pay a little extra for safety and professionalism. He explains:
“Every dollar driven down is a dollar not being spent on improving the safety of fleets,” Waldron says.
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