The Truck Industry Council (TIC) has joined calls for a greater push from government and industry stakeholders for improved road safety measures, this following a spate of recent road deaths involving mostly articulated trucks in New South Wales.
The TIC is the peak representative body for no less than 17 truck brands in Australia and is lending its weight to the recent comments by Toll Group Managing Director, Mr Michael Byrne, calling on the federal government to incentivise Australian truck operators to invest in newer, safer and more sustainable vehicles.
The response has been triggered by shock revelations that truck deaths in NSW rose during 2017 by a staggering 86 per cent. Tragically, road deaths involving trucks leaped from 29 to 54 last year.
Phil Taylor, President of the TIC and Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Trucks in Australia, expressed his dismay at the results, and called for the Government to prioritise in the 2018/19 federal budget the modernisation of Australia’s truck fleet.
“Increasing the take-up rate of today’s more advanced trucks means everyone benefits from our roads being populated with safer fleets.
“Having been around trucks and the Australian road transport industry since the late seventies, I can verify that significant improvements have been made in regard to truck and road safety.
“We must push towards zero deaths on our roads, truck related or otherwise, and as an industry collective, we must believe we can achieve that,” Mr Taylor said.
In 2017, the average age of the Australian truck fleet was 14.9 years, and with the national freight task continually expanding, this figure is set to rise. Hence, the TIC has long called on government for genuine support in helping operators upgrade their fleets to a more robust safety standard.
Forty-two percent (42%) of the nation’s truck fleet was manufactured before 2003 meaning that these trucks are missing many of the safety technologies that come as standard on a truck sold in 2017.
“The choice is not whether Australia uses trucks – they’re essential to our standard of living – the choice is whether we have the most modern fleets possible,” Mr Taylor said.
“Australia can have safer trucks on the road, or we can continue with an older fleet.”
“TIC believes the implementation of an incentivised system, which rewards safe and modern fleets, is the most proactive and cost-effective mechanism for lowering Australia’s road toll,” Mr Taylor said.
“We must act now. This is about creating a safe, productive and robust road transport industry, but most importantly, it’s about ensuring that no more Australian families are torn apart by largely preventable road crashes and fatalities.”