Young women crash fears
High numbers of young women making fatal mistakes around heavy trucks alarms NTARC
of high numbers of young women making fatal mistakes around heavy trucks has alarmed the National Truck Accident Research Centre ( NTARC).
The issue was raised by National Transport Insurance (NTI) National industry aff airs manager Owen Driscoll, who heads NTARC, at the recent Trucking Australia conference when providing insights into the soon-to-be-released 2017 Major Accident Investigation Report.
While 93 per cent of major crash fatalities were down to errors by the lighter vehicle, Driscoll explained that within that, a dreadful percentage were females under the age of 21, something he says that needs to be addressed.
“Thirty-six per cent were females, and 63 per cent of those females were under 21 … that was a really shocking statistic. We’ve got to look at that … we’ve got to look at licencing … how we teach kids, etc.,” he says.
It is understood NTARC has seen nothing like it in previous editions of the bi-yearly report.
The development comes as industry groups in NSW and SA have been vocal about a need for a greater focus on motorist education on safe driving around trucks.
In the absence of more details and deeper research related to the NTARC fi nding, driving safety experts
ATN spoke to on the issue would not be drawn on possible reasons for the development. Seasoned expert and Australasian College of Road Safety president Lauchlan McIntosh took a conservative line when approached about the fi gures, especially as comparatively few incidents are involved to base conclusions on.
“Smaller numbers are very dangerous. You need a period of fi ve years to get a reasonable handle on it,” McIntosh says.
He cautions against simplistic reasoning and responses, given the variables: “Everyone wants to blame the driver.”
McIntosh adds that a range of other accident causes including infrastructure are involved fatal and serious injury crashes. Teresa Senserrick, associate professor of transport and road safety research at the University of NSW, notes that road fatalities generally have reversed their downward trend recently as indicated by the NSW Centre for Road Safety interactive crash statistics website.
It shows a fall from 2015 in all NSW female fatalities in the 17-20-year- old bracket but a huge spike for males of hat age, a spike replicated in the total male fi gure aft er nearly 20 years of falls.
Senserrick was loath to attribute reasons for any short-term spike, as the fi gures are prone to aberrations and variables.