Following a deadly summer on the roads, transport administrators, industry insiders and truckies have been under pressure to come up with ideas to make the roads safer.While the number of fatal incidents involving trucks has actually fallen over the past decade, the spike in New South Wales has everyone concerned.So what are some ideas to improve the road toll and make the roads safer for everyone?
In his 40 years as a truck driver, Rod Hannifey has logged close to 6 million kilometres around Australia.During that time he’s had several near-misses, and he said he’s still haunted by one particularly close call where a driver pulled out in front of him.
“I’ll never know till the day I die how I didn’t run into him and didn’t tip the truck over,” he told 7.30.
“It would have killed him and his wife. With 55,000 litres of petrol on [board], I don’t like to think what would have happened.”Mr Hannifey believes the best way to reduce the number of crashes involving trucks is to educate other drivers to be more aware around trucks.”People need to look around them at the trucks and recognise the vast majority of us do it properly,” Mr Hannifey said.“We travel billions of kilometres a year delivering millions of tons of freight safely. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, we don’t intend to do that.
“But we need to teach people to share the road with trucks.”
Authorities admit that most of the accidents involving trucks are the fault of the other driver.”In the majority of accidents involving a truck, it’s actually the other driver who is at fault,” Roger Weeks from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services told 7.30.Mr Hannifey said poor-quality highways and a lack of rest areas makes it harder for truckies to manage their fatigue.”Not one of our major highways complies with the minimum number of rest areas,” he said.He decided to take matters into his own hands by putting reflectors on roadside posts to mark places where it’s safe for trucks to pull over for a break.He said it’s a temporary fix, but one which has helped exhausted drivers rest when they need it.”I’ve had drivers say to me that I saved their life,” Mr Hannifey told 7.30.