TRUCK CRASH REVIEW: If the trial is successful, the report recommends the Government amend legislation to confirm investigation of incidents involving heavy vehicles as a function of the ATSB.
TRUCK CRASH REVIEW: If the trial is successful, the report recommends the Government amend legislation to confirm investigation of incidents involving heavy vehicles as a function of the ATSB. Carlie Walker

Report recommends ATSB conducts truck crash investigations

A NEW report from the Productivity Commission has backed calls from the Australian Trucking Association for better investigations into truck crashes. 

The Draft Productivity Commission report on national transport regulatory reform has recommended that the Australian Government should engage the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to undertake a defined, targeted trial of incident investigation for heavy vehicles. 

"The ATA has long argued that the ATSB should undertake independent, no-blame safety investigations of crashes involving trucks and autonomous vehicles,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said. 

If the trial is successful, the report recommends the Government amend the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 to confirm investigation of incidents involving heavy vehicles as a function of the ATSB.

The report also recommends the ATSB's role should be extended to include any incident where autonomous technologies at or above SAE level 3 autonomy may have been involved. 

Mr Crouch said the weight of expert evidence and support for extending the role of the ATSB was clear. 

"The ATA has consistently raised the importance of extending ATSB investigations into truck crashes, especially as levels of driving automation increase,” Mr Crouch said. 

"The ATA recommended to the Productivity Commission that the role of the ATSB should be extended to provide independent, no-blame, safety investigations for road crashes involving heavy vehicles,” he said.

The ATA's position was also reflected in the inquiry into the national road safety strategy, which recommended the need for a national investigative regime for road crashes similar to the ATSB. 

"Extending the role of the ATSB would ensure no stone is left unturned in reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads,” Mr Crouch said. 

"This is a practical approach to improving road safety that supports the ATA and Australian Government vision of zero fatalities and injuries on our roads. 

"The draft Productivity Commission recommendation highlights the effectiveness of the ATA's rigorous, evidence-based approach to representing our members in Canberra and the strength of our case,” he said.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) also welcomed the draft report released today, which it said underscores the need to take a more urgent approach to the harmonisation of national transport regulation.

"ALC is pleased that the Draft Report has picked up many of the opportunities identified in our submission to the Productivity Commission to enhance productivity and safety through further regulatory reform,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.

"The Productivity Commission has correctly noted that although reforms to date have undoubtedly yielded some productivity benefits, there is still unfinished business on the table. Unless we now deal with these issues, we risk stagnating productivity in the transport sector and being left behind by Australia's international competitors.”

"ALC especially welcomes the Draft Report's recommendations for further reform of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), which are consistent with positions ALC has already put forward to the review of the HVNL now being undertaken by the National Transport Commission. This includes providing the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) with an explicit mandate to take a risk-based approach to its functions.”

"ALC also supports the Productivity Commission's recommendation that jurisdictions transfer regulatory functions in relation to the HVNL to the NHVR by 1 January 2022. This will help to address continuing frustration within the industry at inconsistent enforcement of the law across state borders.”

The commission is now seeking further information and industry feedback on the report.

Submissions are due by January 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

To read the draft report and/or register your interest in attending one of the public hearings on the submissions to be held in January and February next year, click here.

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