Gen­er­a­tions of young driv­ers are set to hit the roads with lit­tle if any idea of safe driv­ing around trucks, ac­cord­ing to an aca­demic

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

driv­ers are set to hit the roads with lit­tle if any idea of safe driv­ing around trucks, ac­cord­ing to Swin­burne Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor Nicki Wragg.

The warn­ing comes a year af­ter the Na­tional Truck Ac­ci­dent Re­search Cen­tre ( NTARC) f lagged a spike in young women driv­ers in­volved in fa­tal heavy truck col­li­sions and three months af­ter Swin­burne stu­dents em­braced an Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion/ Volvo youth safety cam­paign.

The fear is that ris­ing in­ner city pop­u­la­tions and de­mand for new road in­fra­struc­ture “could lead to more col­li­sions, se­ri­ous in­juries, and pos­si­bly fa­tal­i­ties in­volv­ing heavy ve­hi­cles, such as trucks”.

Wragg points to three fac­tors that to­gether make a fo­cus on young driv­ers’ safety knowl­edge around trucks cru­cial: • 18-25 year old driv­ers are four times more likely to be in­volved in se­ri­ous or fa­tal crashes • 80 per cent of road fa­tal­i­ties in­volv­ing heavy ve­hi­cles are mainly caused by the other party and that around 63 per cent of these other par­ties are aged 21 or younger • Truck num­bers on Aus­tralian roads are ex­pected to dou­ble in the next 20 years. She notes the Swin­burne stu­dents in­ter­viewed more than 200 par­tic­i­pants aged 18-25.

“They found 80 per cent never con­sid­ered the truck in­dus­try and so weren’t aware of the risks in­volved with shar­ing the road with heavy ve­hi­cles,” Wragg says in an ar­ti­cle in aca­demic com­men­tary web­site

The Con­ver­sa­tion.

“Half of the par­tic­i­pants thought truck driv­ers were ag­gres­sive and un­skilled, 20 per cent were com­pletely un­aware of the lo­ca­tion of blind spots on trucks, while 60 per cent were vaguely aware trucks had blind spots. Most un­der­es­ti­mated the time it took for trucks to brake to avoid crashes.”

Their re­search may also point to one pos­si­ble tac­tic to raise aware­ness of is­sues such are truck blind- spots along with other points.

“Dur­ing their pre­lim­i­nary in­ter­views, stu­dents dis­cov­ered that 98 per cent of peo­ple in light cars no­ticed truck- side ad­ver­tise­ments. Some of the ideas they came up with in­cluded com­mu­ni­cat­ing the blind spots through colour on the sides of the truck,” Wragg says. “They also de­vised in­ter­ac­tive games, to high­light the stu­pid­ity of driver be­hav­iour when pulling out in front of a truck, to be screened dur­ing quar­ter time at foot­ball matches.

“Road safety is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity. Mak­ing our roads safer re­quires the sup­port of or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­dus­try, busi­nesses, com­mu­nity groups and in­di­vid­u­als. De­sign is well placed to trans­late the com­plex­ity sur­round­ing the is­sues and de­velop be­hav­iour change cam­paigns that ed­u­cate and mo­ti­vate.”

While some no­table state- cen­tric ef­forts at deal­ing with the prob­lem are high­lighted, they are seen as scarce and oc­ca­sional.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.