8th February 2008

SAFETY FIRST IN REFORMS

posted in Car News Articles |
FEWER, more productive trucks, such as those proposed under the new Performance Based Standards, could reduce trauma on our roads, according to a leading road-safety research body.

The finding by the Monash University Accident Research Centre has been welcomed by the National Transport Commission, which sees the conclusion as an endorsement of its push for more efficient, task-focused trucks, which are better equipped to tackle the burgeoning freight task.

The report by the Monash researchers was undertaken to assess the safety of the growing freight task on passenger car occupants. The national freight task is predicted to double from 2000 to 2020.

The study found that banning articulated trucks on metropolitan roads would result in more smaller trucks carrying freight, increasing the risk of a crash between a truck and a car by as much as 20 per cent.

“The industry is developing safer trucks built for specific freight tasks, such as hauling heavy containers, moving construction materials or urban pick-up and drops,” National Transport Commission safety manager Jeff Potter says.

“Compared with the traditional semitrailer, a super B-double — which can carry two 40-foot containers — could halve the number of truck trips.”

The purpose of the reform is to address the nation’s growing freight task so it doesn’t come at the cost of safety.

Trucks approved under the provisions of the Performance Based Standards must be assessed by experts, who will measure their performance against the new standards. The standards are based on an ability to do the job safely.

The reform is a key plank of the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) road and rail transport reform agenda. It is estimated it could deliver $2 billion in benefits.

- Herald Sun

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