Drivers commit suicide in truck crashes

A new report has found more than one third of fatalities involving trucks are the result of a driver committing suicide

Australian Trucking Association national conference. Photo: Jackson Worthington.

The report from The National Truck Accident Research Centre was released today at the Australian Trucking Association’s National Trucking Conference.

It is the first time suicide has been included in the report as a cause for fatalities.

The report found 37.5 per cent of crashes involving multiple vehicles indicated, or strongly indicated, suicide as a cause.

But the fault for almost 80 per cent of crashes involving multiple vehicles lay with the third party, rather than truck drivers.

Toll Group transport safety and compliance general manager Sarah Jones said it would take a collaborative effort to tackle the issue of vehicular suicide.

According to the report, total fatalities involving trucks decreased by 14 per cent in two years.

Report author Adam Gibson said we could see zero fatalities involving trucks sometime after 2032 if things continued to improve at the same rate.

Mr Gibson said driver fatigue problems were at their lowest point since the beginning of the report.

“Historically if you go back to the late 2000s, we saw around 20 per cent, maybe 22 per cent, of our losses resulting from fatigue,” he said.

Fatigue risk statistics: National Truck Accident Research Centre. Photo: Jackson Worthington.

“In the 2017 data we are reporting on today, that number is 9.8 per cent and that’s a success to be celebrated.”

Despite the decline, fatigue still remains the biggest killer of drivers involved in single-vehicle accidents he said.

Ms Jones said a report by Toll mirrored the NTRAC’s findings when it came to multi-vehicle crashes.

Australian Trucking Association chair Geoff Crouch said his group aimed to have zero fatalities and zero injuries on our roads

Truck driver Riley Topping said people needed to be aware of trucks on the road and manage their fatigue.

“I think everyone should manage their fatigue. You can make silly decisions when you’re a little bit tired,” he said.

“So if you are tired, you’ve got your family in the car, we’ve got our family at home, so if you are tired just pull over and have a rest.

“We’re just doing our job and we want everyone to get home safely.”

Be mindful of trucks on the road. Video: Jackson Worthington

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