ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Benchmarking Truck Safety In Australia

Haworth, Narelle, Vulcan, Peter, Sweatman, Peter

Heavy Vehicles


This study was carried out to benchmark the safety performance of Australia?s road transport industry against the safety performance of similar industries in a range of OECD countries. Its purpose was to guide the development of future policies to improve the safety of the Australian road transport industry, and to provide a focus for the national heavy vehicle safety strategy.

Comparisons were made of truck fatalities in Australia, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Sweden. Fatality rates were used because of the range of comparable data. Injury data were not used because injury reporting criteria and completeness of reporting vary within Australia and in other countries. The study found that Australia?s heavy vehicle fatality rate per kilometre travelled is 47% higher than the USA, 39% higher than the UK, comparable to Germany & Canada, 20% lower than Sweden, 45% lower than France, and 55% lower than New Zealand.

The higher fatality rates on Australian roads compared to Great Britain and the United States may be largely explained by the lower proportion of truck travel on divided and limited access roads in Australia, and possibly truck speed limits. Areas that have the potential to improve the safety performance of the heavy vehicle industry include road standards, targeted low cost road safety treatments, single vehicle crashes, day and night time driving, measures to improve the safety of truck occupants, front and rear underrun protection, appropriate speed limits, and data collection.