Independent, no-blame safety investigations for heavy vehicle road crashes should be considered by the National Road Safety Governance Review, according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).
The ATA is calling for the Australian Government to extend the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to include serious truck crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned.
The review’s terms of reference were revealed last week by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.
The ATA welcomes the terms of reference, which it believes demonstrates a commitment by the government to road safety outcomes.
However, ATA CEO Ben Maguire said in addition to improving the road safety governance the review should include a focus on extending the role of the ATSB and addressing the institutional capacity gap.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important to ensure no stone is left unturned in reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
The ATA has been insisting on a move away from apportioning blame and liability in serious truck crashes for a number of years, having advocated for a national no-blame accident investigation for fatal truck crashes back in 2013.
This review process is the next step in executing the recommendations made by the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 Inquiry. The process will involve consultations with all levels of government across Australia as well as parties in the transport industry, private sector and community.
Mr Maguire said the ATA set out 19 recommendations in a submission to the inquiry, including better roads and truck rest areas, fatigue law reform and better education for learner drivers about how they can share the road safely with trucks.
“Until we reach a point where there are zero fatalities and injuries on our roads, the government needs to consider practical approaches to improving road safety, as we have recommended and include these in the review.”