Government consults on reducing heavy vehicle crashes

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has today begun consulting on technology to reduce the number and severity of heavy vehicle rear impact crashes.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Gee said heavy vehicles represent three per cent of all registered vehicles in Australia and account for just over eight per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled on public roads, however they are involved in 17 per cent of fatal crashes.

“In line with the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020, the Government has released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) to examine options more closely. The RIS identifies Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that meets international standards as the most effective countermeasure available. The RIS proposes to adopt AEB across the new heavy vehicle fleet,” Assistant Minister Gee said.

“The RIS also considers expanding out the current requirements for Electronic Stability Control where AEB is fitted and applying the requirements to some smaller vehicles as well.

“Regardless of where the fault lies, crashes involving heavy vehicles can be particularly severe. Crashes involving heavy vehicles striking the rear of other vehicles cost the community around $200 million each year. They also have a devastating effect on the individuals and families involved.

“AEB systems detect likely forward collisions, provide the driver with a warning and, if the driver does not respond, puts the brakes on automatically.”

Research commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has found that AEB systems meeting the standards would reduce the number and severity of almost 15 per cent of all heavy vehicle crashes, with reductions of fatalities and injuries by up to 57 per cent.

Assistant Minister Gee highlighted that harmonising with established international standards ensures that the safest vehicles are made available to Australian operators at the lowest cost.

The consultation RIS is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/design/adr_comment.aspx and will remain open for a six-week public comment period. Submissions may be emailed to: standards@infrastructure.gov.au