Truck­ies not to blame

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Michael Nolan

ONE of Queens­land’s top po­lice of­fi­cers said mo­torists must pay closer at­ten­tion when driv­ing near trucks if we are to re­duce the stag­ger­ing road death toll.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mike Con­don over­sees po­lice ac­tions in south­ern Queens­land and said truck­ies were in­volved in many crashes, but the cause of few.

“The gen­eral pub­lic may think the truck­ing in­dus­try is in­volved in a lot of fa­tal­i­ties but our data shows in the past year there were 49 in­ci­dents in­volv­ing trucks in fa­tal­i­ties, of which two in­volved the driver of the heavy ve­hi­cle con­tribut­ing in some way,” he said.

Mr Con­don paid a visit to the Cal­tex Truck­stop Road­house on the New Eng­land High­way on Wed­nes­day as part of his Road Safety Week ef­forts.

The road death toll for 2018 sits at 175, which is 14 more than this time last year.

It’s been a hor­ror year for heavy ve­hi­cle driv­ers with a 68 per cent in­crease in crashes and 38 truck­ies killed.

Mr Con­don said stupid mis­takes near trucks were the cause of those deaths.

“Peo­ple are dy­ing and loved ones are los­ing mem­bers of their fam­ily where poor de­ci­sions are be­ing made con­tin­u­ously by driv­ers,” he said.

“What we find is peo­ple, when over-tak­ing trucks, don’t leave enough room to come back into their lane.

“We find that, where a truck driver has left some dis­tance be­tween a ve­hi­cle in front, that seems to be an au­to­matic in­vi­ta­tion to the car be­hind that it is their space.”

This comes from a sense of over-con­fi­dence by driv­ers who AC Con­don said tend to un­der­es­ti­mate the length of road needed to over­take a road train.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many ac­ci­dents are on straight, good qual­ity roads, where vi­sion is very good,” he said.

Young peo­ple make up a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of road deaths and get­ting them to slow down, pay bet­ter at­ten­tion to the con­di­tions and drive sober is a key fo­cus of this year’s road safety week.

They make up al­most 30 per cent of all crash fa­tal­i­ties, fol­lowed closely by se­niors, who make 24 per cent of deaths.

“It may be that we need to com­pletely re­view the age that we pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion to young peo­ple. It can be too late by the time they get to that 14-15-year brack­ets where they are about to get their li­cence at 16. They are not lis­ten­ing to any­one, we know that from our own ex­pe­ri­ence,” AC Con­don said.

PHOTO: MICHAEL NOLAN

NOT TO BLAME: Queens­land Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner for the South­ern Re­gion, Mike Con­don, was keen to high­light the role ev­ery driver must play to re­duce our road death toll.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Just how dan­ger­ous is truck driv­ing?

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