An interesting new topic which is of immense relevance for truckies and operators are the calls for more in depth and thorough investigation of accidents involving trucks.
A number of industry bodies including the National Transport Insurance (NTI) and the Australian Trucking Association have called for a more thorough investigation of trucking accidents.
The country’s largest truck insurer has joined with the ATA in calling for far more thorough investigations to be carried out after truck accidents especially considering that more than 500 truck drivers have been killed in truck accidents over the past decade.
Last month the ATA Chairman David Simon called on the national vehicle regulator and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to establish a national “no blame” accident investigation capacity for fatal truck crashes like the approach taken for aviation, marine and rail accidents. At the moment the Australian Transport Safety Bureau only looks into incidents which involve ships, planes and trains.
The following excerpt from a post on Fullyloaded.com.au explains further:
“So the road transport industry yet again becomes the poor cousin,” Driscoll, who is also Director of Research at the National Truck Accident Research Centre, says.
“Really we have got nothing, apart from limited independent research. That’s a really sad thing for the road transport industry, an industry that continues to be under the microscope but with little commitment from government agencies in many quarters.
“Police and road traffic agencies have a certain amount of data, but their systems are not compatible.”
According to the Deputy Chair of accreditation body TruckSafe, who was also a keynote speaker at the ATA/Paccar technical and Maintenance Conference in Melbourne recently, every 2 years he compiles the NTI’s Major Accident Investigation Report which examines accidents causing claims of over $50,000 to the company.
The NTI insures more than 40 per cent of the heavy vehicles in Oz and according to the latest report 460 accidents lodged during 2011 were analysed. This analysis revealed that inappropriate speed for the conditions was the main cause of a quarter of all incidents. Fatigue and non-impact fires were also major issues, accounting for about 12 per cent of accidents each.
Driscoll also agrees with David Simon’s call for governments to establish a national database of coronial recommendations about road safety, together with the responses to them and updates about the recommendations that have not been followed up on.
Driscoll went on to explain:
The good news is that after adjusting for inflation, NTI’s sample of truck accidents shows a decrease of more than 40 per cent in major crash incidents since 2003.
NTI investigators interview drivers, witnesses, police, tow truck operators and they examine satellite data and engine records.
However, Driscoll concedes the causes of some accidents still remain uncertain.
He says far more involvement is needed from government bodies, including taking investigations further up the chain of responsibility.
He points out that state occupational, health and safety agencies do not even regard the cab of a truck as a workplace.