Load restraint education kicking goals for NSW councils

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils’ Load Restraint Education Project has been marked a success, with a significant reduction in reported load breaches.

Project Coordinator and the Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said that the project aimed to increase awareness of load restraint fundamentals and decrease the number of load restraint incidents and breaches occurring on local roads.

“The results of the project show that load restraint awareness amongst the target group (farmers and transport companies) did improve over the course of the project and we have seen load restraint breaches decrease 69 per cent this year, with no incidents occurring,” said Suitor.

“These are amazing results and I’d like to thank everyone that was involved in the project for ensuring it was a success – it really was a team effort.

“We’ve seen a big improvement in the behaviour of the commodities that we were targeting, which included hay bales, machinery and general freight. As a result, they’ve all learnt a bit got better at restraining their loads.”

The project was funded by the federal government through the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) and was supported by NSW Police, NSW Farmers and Transport for NSW, with assistance from NSW Rural Fire Service, SafeWork NSW and NSW Health’s Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.

“We received $60,000 from NHVR and just over $100,000 all up with council funding, grant funding and support from Transport for NSW,” said Suitor.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the project demonstrates the benefits of the HVSI, where initiatives are driven by industry, for industry.

“Managing loading requirements is a key safety focus for the NHVR and industry,” said Petroccitto.

“The NHVR is proud to support this community-oriented project that will help improve the safety of heavy vehicle drivers and all road users.”

Strategies included; a pre and post online awareness quiz, the development of how-to videos and accompanying fact sheets, promoting case studies, social media, a Load Restraint Village Tour (visiting 12 local villages across the three shires) and the distribution of load restraint packs.

  • more than 100 farmers attended the Load Restraint Village Tour and all provided positive feedback about the program
  • the how-to videos have had more than 1000 views
  • 1100 additional load restraint packs have been distributed to the local community
  • 311,740 people were reached through social media posts and there were 5070 engagements – this is across five Facebook pages
  • small increases in awareness were recorded for two of the online quiz questions (most appropriate lashing to use to tie down a tractor and what to do if you notice your load of hay has shifted during the trip)
  • Police enforcement figures up to August 2021, show that local load restraint breaches have decreased 69 per cent on the 2020 figures and 54 per cent based on the 2019 figures, with no load restraint incidents recorded thus far in 2021.

The Load Restraint Education Project will now turn its attention to light vehicles, following the same strategies in place for heavy vehicles.

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