FATIGUE remains a key risk for transport operators on Australian roads, with SA Police heavy vehicle enforcement sections' Senior Sergeant Ian Norris saying it was one of the main issues his team encountered.
Speaking at the Livestock & Rural Transporters Association of SA conference, he said there were cases of drivers not recording working times when they were loading or unloading.
He said other issues were with subcontractor management, urging operators to pay attention to some of the recorded data available.
"What we want is to drive culture where that set of actions called out," he said.
National Truck Insurance commercial general manager Mike Edmonds said in the 16 years since they began reporting on safety performances, the industry had made big inroads.
He said there had been a 60 per cent increase in the kilometres travelled between 2007 and 2018 but a 36pc decrease in fatal accidents.
"Compared to where would have been without change, we've save approximately 1500 lives," he said.
"To be clear, there should be no deaths but it is important to highlight the distance we've already come on the road safety journey."
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Mr Edmonds said overall there had been a slight decline in the lives lost through fatigue-related fatalities but it still remained the leading cause in single vehicle at-fault accidents.
"NSW represented two out of five of every serious fatigue accidents, but it does have status as a drive-through state," he said.
He said when the statistics were corrected to allow for that, Qld was the worst performing state, sitting 51pc above the national average, while NSW was 33pc higher than the national average.
WA was almost on par with the national figure, while SA sat 46pc and Vic 62pc below.
Mr Edmonds said there was a 120pc higher risk for fatigue-related accidents on a Sunday and a 220pc higher risk in the middle of the night.
He said statistics showed a reduction in single vehicle at-fault truck crashes, but this was offset by a similar increase in multi-vehicle not at-fault crashes.
Senior Sergeant Norris said all road users needed to be aware of the potential for tragedy.
"We understand drivers make mistakes but we don't want them to be fatal mistakes," he said.
He said there had been a number of recent fatalities on the Sturt Highway where drivers had been attempting to overtake road trains.
Mr Edmonds said the statistics showed progress.
"If we're able to continue at the present rate of improvement, we could see zero fatal accidents in 2033 - only 13 years," he said.
"Logically that is not going to happen, as we get diminishing returns, but there is a moral obligation to do everything we can to keep the trend downwards."
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