Opinion

Strategy will help achieve national road safety goals

One of the most exciting parts of my role is the opportunity to meet with industry and discuss the latest in safety standards and technology.

A key program that helps support these projects and get them off the ground is the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), delivered by the NHVR with the support of the federal government. 

The HVSI was set up to deliver tangible road safety outcomes, improve road networks, and promote greater levels of heavy vehicle safety. 

So far, over $28 million in funding has been provided, supporting 117 grants for projects that improve industry and community safety.

From training new heavy vehicle drivers about key road safety issues, to field testing and evaluating the performance of safety chains at the point of coupling failure – the HVSI is an initiative driven by industry, for industry.

In addition to providing funding, the HVSI allows the NHVR to work closely with many new and established industry groups to deliver targeted small and medium sized projects that may not have been delivered otherwise. 

We are up to the seventh round of the HVSI program and grants for 2022-23 will open from late November.

I encourage those with a project that aligns with the theme of ‘safer drivers, vehicles and road use’ to visit the NHVR website and learn more about submitting a proposal.

The HVSI is also a key part of the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy 2021-25 and yearly Action Plan. 

The strategy will help achieve national road safety goals and importantly, help to reduce the number of road traumas and fatalities that occur each year. 

The yearly Action Plan will deliver on short to medium term safety initiatives and ensure that as the industry grows, so too does the focus on safety.

The three main objectives of the strategy revolve around creating positive change in individual behaviours and a culture to improve safety; driving uptake of a modern, safer heavy vehicle fleet that reduces the likelihood and impact of crashes; and influencing road network design to support safe heavy vehicle use.

Importantly, the NHVR will continue to move beyond a traditional one size fits all compliance and enforcement approach and embrace new types of regulatory activities, delivering long-term safety outcomes. 

This means increasing our data sharing capability with industry, improving awareness alongside key regulatory partners, and delivering effective promotional and educational campaigns. 

It also means continuing to proactively influence practical policy changes– including recommended enhancements to the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

Ultimately, safety is about communication and consistency. 

Initiatives such as the HVSI, combined with a collaborative Safety Strategy, will stand us in good stead to continue to be part of a safe, productive and efficient industry well into the future.

For more information on the HVSI, visit nhvr.gov.au/hvsi. 

Further information on the NHVR’s Safety Strategy and Action Plan is available online at nhvr.gov.au.

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