CHAIN MAIL: I don’t like Mondays

Quite why we needed an investigation to work that out, I’m not sure. But it wasn’t entirely a news flash about stating the obvious. The investigation – which looked at 325 major truck crashes in 2007 – did generate some other, more useful, statistics. For instance, the report found Mondays were the worst day of the week for major truck crashes, with 20.6% of accidents. The worst time of the year was between February and May. The investigation’s initial finding – that driver fatigue and inappropriate speed for the conditions accounted for 47.7% of serious truck accidents – seems to be related to its secondary finding that in three out of four cases, no other vehicles were involved.While the report also revealed some black spots, it also generated some positive news.The report found that New South Wales’ continued investment in road infrastructure appears to have led to fewer serious truck crashes. But it wasn’t so good for roads in other parts of the country, with one in six serious truck crashes occurring on Australia’s National Highway 1 and Queensland’s Bruce Highway recording the most incidents.The NTI is using the investigation results to call on governments for more fatigue and speed management initiatives.However, the troubling aspect of this whole issue is that industry needs to produce reports and statistics to back up information that, by and large, is common knowledge to everyone in the industry. Governments may well need reports such as these to back up approvals for investment in measures to reduce accidents, but it is a pity many of these measures appear to be held up because of a lack of official information that is common knowledge to all in the industry.The NTI has also said the recently implemented fatigue laws will have little effect because they are being implemented differently across the states. “NTI is yet to be convinced that the new heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws will make any difference, particularly given the confusion arising with differing implementation by state transport agencies,” NTI industry affairs and customer relations manager Owen Driscoll said.“The shortage and inaccessibility of truck rest areas remains an opportunity for governments to assist the trucking industry in managing fatigue.”The report continues a series of research studies by the insurer into Australian heavy vehicles involved in serious accidents since 1998.The previous report, released in 2007, also found fatigue and inappropriate speed to be the major accident causes.

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