Front-end sensors to help truckies detect cyclists, pedestrians and small cars could be in place on all new trucks from next year, the federal government says.
The technology would be part of a “package” of safety reforms for heavy vehicles that could be in place next year, said a spokeswoman for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Catherine King.
“The department is preparing a package of reforms for safer freight vehicles that includes the fitting of blind-spot information systems and additional mirrors – or cameras – to help truck drivers see pedestrians and other road users in front or beside their vehicle,” said the spokeswoman.
“The department is finalising advice and recommendations for the package of safety technologies to be mandated through the National Road Vehicle Standards Act.
“Should the minister agree to the recommendations, the package could be expected to come into effect in 2023.”
The federal government says it will also support a driver training course for truck drivers to make them more aware of cyclists.
“We strongly support mandatory blind spot sensors for new vehicles as part of our vision of zero fatal and serious injury crashes involving trucks,” said an ATA spokesperson.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon says improvements that help safety are to be encouraged, but he would like to see more “visibility” on the detail of the proposed amendment to the Australian Design Rules.
“We would strongly prefer a performance outcome rather than a specified technical outcome,” said Mahon.
“If it’s a technical one it may well be that they specify a particular solution, a beeper, a video, or whatever it might be, rather than a performance outcome, for example, some warning system on the vehicle that gives you warning of a presence at least 40-degrees forward of the passenger door.
“If they say you have to fit company A, B, or C’s beeper system that then holds you to a particular technical solution which can become outdated.
“With a performance standard, manufacturers could then decide on the best way they would do that.”
Mahon concedes there’s been an unfortunate number of incidents with cyclists and trucks, particular at slip lanes in urban areas.
“But the industry has made a lot of effort to remedy these challenges.”