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Police pleased with decrease in truck fatalities

May 15, 2015

Police from the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command have today welcomed figures released in a report by the Bureau of Infrastructure & Transport showing significant decreases in fatalities involving trucks in NSW.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said today (Wednesday 13 May 2015) the results show the importance of the work being done by the Joint Traffic Taskforce, compromising the NSW Police Traffic & Highway Patrol Command and the NSW Roads & Maritime Service Inspectors & Investigators.

"We know that NSW is doing very well compared to the rest of Australia when it comes to heavy vehicle fatal crashes, even though a large proportion of heavy truck travel comes through our state," Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

"While there was a national average annual decrease in fatalities from articulated trucks of 12.2 per cent between 2012 and 2014 – there was actually a 20 per cent average annual decrease in these fatalities in NSW over the same period.

"In the heavy rigid truck category, fatal crashes fell from 22 in 2012 to 21 in 2014, an average annual decrease of 2.3 per cent. During the same period related deaths fell from 23 in 2012 to 21 in 2014, an average annual decrease of 4.4 per cent.

"In the bus category, fatal crashes fell from 15 in 2005 to six in 2014, an average annual decrease of 10.1 per cent. Related deaths fell from 21 in 2005, to six in 2014, an average annual decrease of 11.8 per cent.

"When you consider census data which shows 676,250 heavy vehicles registered in Australia, which share the road with 16,957,243 other vehicles, many of which travel through NSW, the fatality reductions achieved are significant for not only road users, but also for the transport industry," Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

"Sadly, 18 people have lost their lives in heavy vehicle-related fatalities so far this year, which is certainly an indicator of the need for the Joint Traffic Taskforce, and the Heavy Vehicle Industry to work together to reduce the death toll.

"I don’t think any heavy vehicle driver, or their family, expect to go to work and not come home, which is why our work is important," he said.

Roads and Maritime Services Director of Safety and Compliance Peter Wells said enforcement activities and engagement with stakeholders are key elements helping to drive compliance within the heavy vehicle industry. Roads and Maritime Services regularly seeks opportunities to work with industry to identify processes to improve compliance, increase safety and ultimately, save lives on NSW roads.

"Recent court actions and outcomes should serve as a reminder of the consequences for companies who refuse to comply with the law and put the lives of innocent road users at risk," Mr Wells said.

"We will continue our very important work with the NSW Police Force to enforce safety of heavy vehicles across the network. We need industry to acknowledge its role to improving safety of fleets and take action where required. The key question operators need to ask is ‘Are my business practices placing a commercial pressure on others that may influence a risk?’ If the answer is yes, then it must be addressed," Mr Wells said.

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