By working together we can make our roads safer

On Sunday, May 12, we marked the end of the 11th year of National Road Safety Week. 

This year, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) partnered with Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) to remind drivers to prioritise safety behind the wheel.

During National Road Safety week, we saw communities come together to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving practices. I would like to commend everyone who got involved in these initiatives, your efforts are key to driving down road trauma and saving lives.

However, our work is far from over. The 187 lives lost on our roads last year is a sobering reminder of why we all must remain steadfast in our commitment to improving road safety, not just during National Road Safety Week, but every day of the year. 

As you all know, heavy vehicles, due to their size and weight, pose unique challenges on the road. They are difficult to maneuver and require more space, and longer stopping distances. With 70% of serious incidents involving both heavy and light vehicles the fault of the light vehicle driver, it is crucial that general motorists know how to drive safely around heavy vehicles.

This National Road Safety Week, the NHVR reminded light vehicle drivers to:

• Leave two lanes for trucks when they are turning.

• Give trucks extra space. 

• Avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spot.

As part of our We All Need Space and Don’t #uck With A Truck road safety campaigns, the NHVR aims to address the biggest risks on the roads and ultimately reduce serious truck-related incidents and fatalities. Our campaigns boost awareness of the key problems causing accidents and positively shifting understanding and behaviours.

We are continuing to build on these campaigns, so we can communicate the most important road safety messages and ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely.

National Road Safety Week was also a timely reminder for truck drivers to make certain that their movements are safe and efficient. 

Ensuring a heavy vehicle is being operated safely requires regular maintenance and inspections, comprehensive training, and adherence to safety protocols. However, it isn’t just about the vehicles themselves, it is about the behaviour of those behind the wheel. 

It is critically important we educate drivers about the risks associated with fatigue, distraction and speeding. I encourage any heavy vehicle driver with a question regarding their compliance, to chat to the NHVR’s on-road officers, who are always out and about and ready to support them.

The NHVR’s commitment to road safety extends far beyond compliance with regulations; it is about establishing a culture of vigilance and responsibility amongst all road users. 

From heavy vehicle drivers to fleet operators, from government agencies to the general public, we all have a role to play in road safety.

As we reflect on the events that were held across the country earlier this month, let’s recommit to ensuring we ‘drive so others survive.’ 

I encourage everyone to honour the memory of those we have lost on our roads, by taking concrete steps to prevent future tragedy. 

Together, we can make our roads a safer place.

Read more about the NHVR’s campaigns at nhvr.gov.au/weallneedspace and nhvr.gov.au/dontmuckwithatruck.

  • Sal Petroccitto is the CEO of the NHVR.

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