The Truck industry Council (TIC) has taken advantage of increased scrutiny of truck safety to renew its call for a younger national fleet.
One of the few voices consistently calling for action on the increasing average age of the nation’s trucking fleet, the TIC has backed recent comments from Toll MD 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 the truck deaths spike in NSW last year of 86 per cent, with road fatalities rising from 29 to 54 last year.
Phil Taylor, TIC president 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," Taylor says.
"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."
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.
The TIC has long called on government for genuine support in helping operators upgrade their fleets to a more robust safety standard.
It notes 42 per cent 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," Taylor says.
"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
"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."
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