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Big wheels keep on turning: Education vital for safety

This National Road Safety Week, Transurban in partnership with the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA), is sharpening its focus on truck safety.

In an unprecedented start to the year, despite severe weather events, coupled with significant disruptions to domestic and international supply chains due to Covid-19, the road freight industry has kept goods and services moving, delivering critical grocery, construction and medical supplies to communities in desperate need of support.

Liz Waller, head of road safety at Transurban, said everyday motorists could show their support to the heavy vehicle industry and its professional drivers by using National Road Safety Week to educate themselves around the safe interaction with trucks on Australian roads and motorways. 

“Road safety is a shared responsibility and with increased numbers of private vehicles returning to the roads alongside heavy freight transport, I urge everyone to think about how they can share the road safely, get to know truck blind spots and start a conversation about truck safety with colleagues, family and friends,” Waller said.

“Professional truck drivers regularly encounter other road users conducting quick lane changes or lingering in their blind spots without knowing the danger they are placing themselves and the truck driver in.

“Unfortunately, the outcome can be significant in the event of a crash.

“This lack of awareness can contribute to road incidents and near misses which we analyse closely at Transurban, using in-vehicle data and roadway technologies to improve safety for all road users.”

Head of road safety at Transurban, Liz Waller, says road safety is a shared responsibility.

Gary Mahon, chief executive officer at the QTA, shares Transurban’s commitment to safety and agreed an investment in truck safety education was an important part of educating all motorists. 

“There were a few simple steps motorists could take to reduce the risk of incident when sharing the road with trucks,” he said

“If a truck is in your vicinity, avoid driving immediately behind it as you will not be visible to the driver. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors when behind it, the truck driver will not see you.

“If you are in an adjacent lane, sit well behind the trailer so the truck driver can use his rear-view mirrors to keep you in sight.

“The continued education about blind spots, along with reminders about the dangers of fatigue, distraction and speed, all play an essential part in making the roads safer for everybody.” 

Mahon added that the workplace of a truck driver is on our roads and we want that workplace to be as safe as possible for the people behind the wheel of the trucks delivering into our communities.

“We encourage people young and old to seek out an opportunity to get into a truck cabin to heighten their sense of awareness of truck blind spots and understand the importance of respecting the space heavy vehicles need around them to safely operate on our roads. 

“We are fortunate to have several of the large truck manufacturers here in Australia who understand the operating environment of our roads and continue to design innovative safety features to increase blind spot visibility.

 “But the stark reality is many motorists remain unaware of truck blind spots or the length of stopping distances they require.”

Transurban and QTA have sponsored a Followmont Transport trailer to raise awareness about truck blind spots. For more information, visit transurban.com/blindspots.  

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