Improving truck safety in Australia

This report summarises the five reviews carried in Phase 1 of the Australian Truck Safety Study and the Action and Research Plan developed from them. The number of fatal accidents per distance travelled appears to be about double that in other developed countries, and is conservatively estimated to cost $500 million per year. Although divided roads substantially reduce crashes, they generally cannot be justified on safety grounds alone. Road design standards appear to be adequate, but much work remains to be done to bring the road network up to these standards. The principal actions which the road authorities should take to improve truck safety are conducting safety audits on routes carrying large numbers of trucks, removing obstacles and improving road and traffic engineering, sealing shoulders and providing special facilities for trucks on down grades, such as escape ramps and weight-related advisory speed signing. More research is required into the relationship between crashes and geometric features, truck crashes in urban areas, and the effects of speeds and speed differentials. Actions related to vehicles which would reduce accidents include larger trucks (including B-doubles), speed limiters, and encouraging drivers to use seat belts. Further research and development is required to devise appropriate brake maintenance and inspection standards, determine the practicality of fatigue detectors and develop bull-bars which are more compatible with passenger car structures and assess the benefits of rear under-run protection. There is very little objective data available relating to driver, organisation and enforcement issues. Actions which have been recommended include self regulation of the industry (with some caveats), regular health checks which include screening for drug and alcohol problems, industry based drug and alcohol counselling, audit of scheduling practices, education with emphasis on attitude and responsibility, and making driving records available to employers. Research is proposed on the following issues: testing blood samples from crashed truck drivers for the presence of drugs, graduated licensing, the content, methods and outcomes of driver training, and the relationship between accidents and offences among truck drivers. The report concludes with an action and research plan which puts forward concrete proposals for each of the actions and research projects and which makes clear which organisation is primarily responsible for each activity. So far as possible, the costs of each action and research project have been estimated, as have the likely effects and benefits in the case of the actions.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The ISBN of the microfiche version is 0-86910-483-7
  • Corporate Authors:


    Melbourne, Victoria  Australia 
  • Authors:
    • Cairney, P T
  • Publication Date: 1991-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 46p
  • Serial:
    • Issue Number: 46

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01432422
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 869104829
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2012 5:00PM