Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack celebrates funding for the ATA safety truck.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack celebrates funding for the ATA safety truck.

Hands on experience puts young people in driver's seat

THE Australian Trucking Association is a step closer to saving more lives on the road, after today welcoming Australian Government funding to redesign the Volvo ATA Safety Truck.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced the $400,000 in funding this morning with ATA CEO Ben Maguire and Volvo Group Australia President and CEO Martin Merrick.

The funds will contribute to the redesign of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck, a road safety exhibition that has been in operation since 2008. The exhibition was last updated in 2013.

The new Safety Truck and campaign will deliver an engaging hands-on experience that puts young road users in a virtual driver's seat to experience the realities of truck driving, to learn how to keep safe around trucks on the road. This will be supported by informative, small group presentations that reinforce safety messages and drive behavioural change. 

"Deputy Prime Minister McCormack understands the importance of road safety and our common vision of zero fatal or serious injury crashes on our roads. I am delighted to accept the funding, knowing that it will save lives," ATA CEO Ben Maguire said.

"The new campaign will specifically target 16 to 25 year old drivers and vulnerable road users, as they are over-represented in crash statistics," he said.

Official estimates show that about 80 per cent of fatal multi-vehicle crashes involving trucks are not the fault of the truck driver.

25 per cent of the people involved in casualty crashes with trucks are aged 26 years or younger, although this age group only represents 10-15 per cent of the driver population.

The ATA's award-winning Safety and Skills Adviser, Melissa Weller, is leading the project.

"The refreshed Safety Truck will deliver its messages through videos, virtual reality and small group presentations. It will focus on truck blind spots, stopping distances, overtaking procedures and the risks associated with driver, pedestrian and cyclist distraction," Mrs Weller said.

Mrs Weller said the project would be supported by ongoing research and evaluation.  

"We are going to work with academic road safety researchers to design and implement a study that will assess road safety trends and allow us to measure the impact of the Safety Truck on on-road behaviour and statistics," Mrs Weller said.

The refurbishment will commence in June 2019, with the new truck and campaign to be launched in conjunction with the ATA's 30th anniversary celebrations in October 2019.

The ATA represents the 50,000 businesses and 211,500 people in the Australian trucking industry.
 

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