New driver fatigue research set to drive policy decisions

Media Release


07 December 2016

  • $828,000 to be invested in Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Research Project
  • The project will investigate driver alertness, sleep patterns and safety risks associated with reduced concentration
  • The collaborative project will help improve road safety

Driver fatigue is one of the main causes of road accidents involving heavy vehicles, contributing to approximately 22 percent of all recorded incidents across the country.

As Federal Transport Minister I cannot, and will not accept, this situation.

That is why I am today committing more than $800,000 towards research which will give policy makers a greater understanding of truck driver fatigue, and to find solutions to reducing heavy vehicle fatigue related road incidents.

Although we've seen significant improvements in safety since the introduction of fatigue regulations, the fact remains that fatigue kills.

The Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Research Project will investigate driver alertness, sleep patterns and the safety risks associated with reduced concentration in a bid to better inform future fatigue policy.

The data collected through this research will be crucial in assessing the effectiveness of our current framework and will help us deliver a more contemporary risk-based approach.

My Department will collaborate with the National Transport Commission, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, universities and industry on this research to give us a clearer picture of our road safety challenge.

This collaborative approach is essential in delivering the safest road network possible, with the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity providing oversight of this project.

This research is expected to be finalised and available to transport Ministers in 2018, and I have committed this funding for the next two years.

Australia has traditionally been a world leader in road safety, thanks to measures like compulsory seatbelts, speed limits and random breath testing.

But we can't become complacent by not continuing to invest in new initiatives to reduce the frequency and severity of road accidents.

I have seen first-hand the impacts of a road crash and I, along with many other Australians, have heard stories from our friends, colleagues and neighbours of a road crash they have experienced.

The annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is estimated to be around $27 billion, and that doesn't even begin to touch on the grief and pain suffered by families.

Research such as this will ensure we have the right policy settings in place to minimise the loss of life from road crashes.

I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this research and delivering a much safer road network for all motorists.