Improving heavy vehicle safety important for all road users

Ed, Across Australia, 534,000 heavy vehicles are delivering the goods we need to keep our nation moving. And the people driving these trucks are no different to those sharing the road in cars, on bikes, or motorcycles: they all want to arrive home safely. Heavy vehicle safety is a key priority for me as Transport Minister, which is why the Australian Government continues to invest record funding in road infrastructure and safety programmes. There has been a reduction in road trauma within the heavy vehicle sector, but the overall road toll is increasing and we need a coordinated national approach. Last week the Commonwealth announced more than $97.6 million in upgrades through Round Five of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme, which will be delivered in partnership with local councils and state governments. This funding complements the government’s wider heavy vehicle safety strategy, which includes additional funding to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Bridges Renewal Programme, and National Highway Upgrade Programme. By working with the heavy vehicle industry, we are getting on with the job of providing safer and more productive freight network. This not only has benefits to businesses and primary industries, but delivers improvements for all road users. Last week, Australia’s trucking industry is also celebrated TruckWeek 2016 (August 29-September 4). TruckWeek2016 is an initiative of the Australian Trucking Association that aims to raise awareness of the important role trucks play in our economy. It also a chance to recognise the need for safer interaction between heavy and light vehicles. Statistics show heavy vehicles are disproportionately involved in crashes involving fatalities, yet in about 80 per cent of fatal multiple-vehicle crashes, fault is not assigned to the heavy vehicle driver. This is a reminder of why we all need to remain vigilant on the roads, because every road user deserves to arrive at their destinations safely. Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport