In a submission to the NSW parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety (also known as Staysafe Committee), academics said innovations to enhance heavy vehicle safety should reach beyond the truck driver.
Macquarie University associate professor Louise Thornthwaite and UNSW Canberra academic Sharron O’Neill made their submission based on earlier research they had conducted.
In their research they found that 27 per cent of owner drivers and 39 per cent of employee drivers rarely/never had any input into their schedules.
They also found that 18 per cent of owner drivers and 12 per cent of employee drivers could not refuse a schedule they considered unsafe, while an unsafe load could not be refused by 16 per cent of owner drivers and 9 per cent of employee drivers.
Drivers were fearful of being dismissed or losing work, feared retaliation or believed that supervisors would not act on their concerns.
Researchers found that it would be impractical to focus simply on driver behaviour without addressing chain of responsibility participants’ willingness to comply with their safety obligations.