The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the University of Newcastle have joined forces to fine-tune the way the industry is communicating safety messages to young road users.
ATA Safety, Health and Wellbeing Director Melissa Weller said there was a worldwide lack of good quality research into road safety communication and behavioural change projects.
“Governments throughout the world spend millions on education and communication campaigns, but those campaigns are rarely evaluated formally,” Weller said.
Led by the University of Newcastle School of Psychology, the research will focus on the ATA’s SafeT360 road safety exhibition, which teaches 16-25 year old road users how to share the road safely with trucks through virtual reality technology and interactive messaging.
“While SafeT360 is an immersive educational initiative, it was also designed to enable research that government and industry can draw on in developing future campaigns,” Weller said.
“We commend the Australian Government and the vision of the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for backing SafeT360 and supporting research that will guide road safety initiatives for many years to come.”
With more than 20 years’ experience in this type of research, Head of School of Psychology Professor Kristen Pammer said the school is very excited by the project.
“There is surprisingly little research out there regarding road safety from the perspective of heavy vehicles, and SafeT360 is such a fantastic initiative,” she said.
“Our feeling is that this is a game-changer for road-safety research and initiatives.”
Weller said the research project was the trucking industry’s contribution to road safety leadership.
“This partnership will generate lasting peer-reviewed research that can be used by researchers and road safety practitioners not only in Australia, but around the world,” Weller said.
“It will deliver valuable insight into safety initiatives, and how organisations can deliver the most effective communications and campaigns possible.”