Truck driver road death rate reverses 20-year trend
FOR the first time in 20 years, the number of truck driver deaths on Australian roads has increased.
Truck drivers on the road last year were 2.5 times more likely to die in a crash than in 2017, a National Transport Insurance report found.
The National Truck Accident Research Centre 2020 report also found there were almost 100 more serious truck crashes compared to 2017.
"We had been on a downward trend of heavy vehicle-related deaths and had hoped to hit zero within the next decade, but tragically, last year we saw more loss of life, not just for truckies but all road users, " NTI chief executive officer Tony Clark said.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said although there had been a record-low road fatality rate in 2019, this report showed now was not the time to become complacent.
"Truckies have been, are, and always will be, vital parts of our community. It's important for them and for all of us, that we put safety front of mind every time we get behind the wheel," Mr Bailey said.
While the exact reason for the increase in deaths was unknown, the report found two-thirds of all crashes were the result of fatigue and distraction.
Department of Transport and Main Roads land transport safety and regulation general manager Andrew Mahon said new cameras, which could detect mobile phone use, would catch distracted drivers and keep them off the roads.
"With double demerit points for individuals caught committing the same offence in 12 months, most drivers will lose their licence if caught a second time," Mr Mahon said.