Young women crash fears

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

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.

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