(Other news' outlines articles circulating in the public domain, listed in random order. Inclusion does not imply endorsement.)
IMPROVEMENTS TO AUSTRALIA'S CHAIN OF RESPONSIBILITY LAWS TO MAKE ROADS SAFER FOR ALL
Australia’s chain of responsibility obligations will be restructured to improve consistency and allow more flexibility in how all parties along the supply chain who can influence on-road behaviour achieve the desired regulatory outcomes. The NTC has published details of the reforms in a policy paper.
Chief Executive of the NTC Paul Retter said the reforms were approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council earlier this month, and introduce a primary duty of care on all current chain of responsibility parties to ensure the safety of road transport operations, and include obligations on executive officers.
“These reforms will help to make Australia’s roads safer for everyone who uses them. Those people in the supply chain who can make our roads safer should be encouraged to do so, and these reforms do exactly that,” Mr Retter said.
“These parties include consignors, consignees, loaders, schedulers, transport operators, contractors, employers and their executives.”
Mr Retter said the reforms removed many prescriptive obligations under the current Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and implemented clearer, more flexible and performance-based obligations, without increasing the overall burden on industry.
The reforms better align the HVNL with Australia’s workplace health and safety laws. This will make the law easier for industry to comply with, and help both industry and enforcement agencies better understand their requirements.
They also give business greater flexibility, as they specify road safety as the outcome but remove many prescriptive obligations. This allows individual businesses to find the best way to comply based on their individual business needs.
“This reform will help enforcement agencies target and prevent unsafe behaviour by organisations in the supply chain, rather than waiting for a crash to happen,” Mr Retter said.
Consistent with the approach used in other national safety laws, supply chain parties and executive officers will be considered innocent until proven guilty. New penalties for offences related to the new primary duties will ensure the most dangerous safety risks attract the most serious penalties.
These changes were achieved in consultation with the NTC’s government and industry stakeholders, and received broad support from Australia’s transport industry. To give effect to these reforms, the NTC will prepare legislative amendments for ministers to consider in May 2016.
UNIVERSITIES GO ONLINE TO SEEK THEIR PERFECT MATCH IN BUSINESS
Read the Full Press Release here.
A new website will allow companies to search all the intellectual property patents held by Australia's universities and public research organisations. This new resource is crucial in expanding the take up of Australian research breakthroughs.
The Source IP digital marketplace will be an online match-making service for industry-university collaboration. It will enable businesses to look through all the intellectual property patents held by universities that could help to improve their products, services or productivity.
Every Australian university has listed their patents on the new Source IP site, making it a comprehensive searchable source of Australia's university-held patents. It also notes which ones can be licensed. Universities Australia welcomes the launch of Source IP today by the Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said universities were keen to ensure the widest possible access to their ground-breaking research.
"Every single one of our member universities has signed up to share their information on this site. This highlights the fact that Australian university researchers are seizing opportunities to work with business," she said. Source IP is a great initiative by IP Australia. It removes a key barrier for business in collaborating with universities, ending the problem of not knowing what IP is available and who to contact about a patent.
"Of course, this is only the beginning. We all have a part to play in making the site a success. We need to get the word out to businesses across Australia not only about this site, but also about the great benefits from partnering on research and innovation," she said.
Read the Complete Media Release here.
ACT/NSW NEWS: SLOW DOWN, CALM DOWN AND CONCENTRATE ON THE BARTON HIGHWAY
Police will target speeding and dangerous driver behaviours on the Barton Highway during a two week blitz from 27 November to 11 December.
Sergeant Pidgeon of Yass Highway Patrol says "Highway Patrol police will be focusing on the Barton Highway for this period in an effort to reduce dangerous driver behaviour. Speed, fatigue, distraction and impatience are all factors that increase the risk of a serious collision. Particularly for the large number of drivers that travel this road every day, it is far too easy to become complacent."
There were 133 crashes on the Barton Highway in the five years from 2010 to 2014, seven people lost their lives and 111 were injured. This campaign reminds motorists to slow down, calm down and concentrate.
Yass Valley Council Road Safety Officer, Melissa Weller says “We have run this campaign each year for five years, combining safety messages with increased police enforcement and we are seeing results. Barton Highway crash numbers (recorded with speed as a causal factor) have fallen from a high of 25% in 2010 to 8.3% in 2014.”
“Disturbingly 22% of crashes have fatigue recorded as a causal factor and police are also very concerned about drivers’ use of mobile phones” she adds.
NSW crash data from 2010 to 2014 showed there were 236 crashes where hand-held mobile phone use by drivers was identified as a contributing factor. This included seven fatal crashes. From July 2014 to June 2015, more than 35,300 fines were issued to drivers in NSW for using mobile phones, showing the problem is prevalent.
“Motorists need to be responsible and consider the impact that road trauma can have, this includes taking a break or not driving if they are feeling tired, avoiding distractions like mobile phones and driving to the conditions and speed limits” Ms Weller adds.
Read the Full Story
MORE ACT NEWS: AMENDMENTS TO ALLOW MOBILE PHONE GPS FUNCTIONS WHILE DRIVING
ACT motorists and riders are now able to use their mobile phones’ GPS systems when the phone is mounted correctly while driving and riding, following changes introduced by Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury.
The GPS function found on most current mobile phones has previously been illegal to use while driving and riding in the ACT, but amendments will now allow motorists and riders to access the function when their device is safely secured.
“A mobile phone can now be used for navigation purposes, provided it is securely mounted to the vehicle. A mobile phone that isn’t mounted can also still be used to make or receive a call, provided it is not being held or touched by the driver or rider,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“The legislation previously allowed a driver to use a standalone GPS device, but not a mobile phone, for navigation purposes. Given that most phones now have the capacity to provide GPS or navigational assistance, it makes sense that drivers should be able to use this function in the same way they would use a standard GPS system.
“These changes recognise that a growing number of ACT motorists and riders are using their mobile phones to perform the functions of a standalone GPS device, and will allow them to do so in a manner that is safe.”
The new legislation will align the ACT’s road rules with other Australian jurisdictions, including NSW.
Read the Original Media Release here.
SA NEWS: ROAD CRASH VICTIMS REMEMBERED AT ADELAIDE MEMORIAL SERVICE
A memorial service has been held in Adelaide and butterflies set free in remembrance of victims of road trauma. Police and family members who have been affected by road deaths or injuries involving loved ones took part in the ceremony as part of a global remembrance day for road accident victims.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens spoke at the service, held at the Road Safety Centre at Thebarton. "It is a sombre day, where we remember as a community those killed and injured on our roads here in Australia and around the world, as well as pausing to acknowledge the loss and grief of their families, friends and many others who are also affected," he said.
Mr Stevens said accidents affected many more people than those directly involved. "For every one person killed or injured in a motor vehicle collision, the ripple of impact can flow on to dozens, if not hundreds of people," he said. "The effects last long after the scene has been cleared and the physical wounds have healed. We see today that people are grieving and that grief just doesn't go away."
Butterflies were released from a cage during the service and a special memorial plaque was unveiled in memory of children killed on the roads.
The Police Commissioner said public education remained the key to reducing fatal crashes and injuries. "We must never forget that road fatalities are not statistics," he said. "They are someone's mother or father, son or daughter, colleague or friend. They are real lives cut short."
Mr Stevens said police had their eye on achieving a long-term decline in road trauma by combining law enforcement with educational campaigns. "There is this level of acceptance we need to challenge," he said. "We need to get people to think about this as something which is preventable and act responsibly on our roads."
South Australian Road Safety Minister Tony Piccolo said safe driving messages would continue to be a focus of road education campaigns.
Read the Complete Article here.
MORE SA NEWS: POLICE AND MOTORING GROUPS WANT CYCLISTS TO PAY THE SAME STEEP TRAFFIC FINES AS DRIVERS
Cyclists should pay the same steep traffic fines as drivers, say police and key motoring organisations. Under current regulations, cyclists are only fined $54 for offences such as running a red light — while motorists are hit with the full $437 impost. Police have called on the State Government to review the regulations so cyclists and motorists are equally penalised for the same traffic offences.
The Government said it would review the penalties imposed on cyclists if riders’ “behaviour’’ warranted it. The RAA and the SA Freight Council said they supported the police call for a review.
In response to recent changes to cycling laws, police said the fines for cyclists, such as breaking rules for riding on footpaths, did not reflect the “obligation’’ riders had to share the space with pedestrians and other cyclists.
Police said in their submission to a Citizens Jury — which suggested law changes that came into effect last month — that penalties had been increased in Queensland when similar changes to cycling laws were introduced there earlier this year.
Key law changes include requiring motorists to keep at least a metre from a cyclist when the speed limit is 60km/h or under and 1.5 metres when the limit is above 60km/h. Cyclists can also now ride on footpaths — but they must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
The police submission is revealed in the Transport Department’s Regulatory Impact Statement into the new laws, which was released in September. The RAA also made a submission calling for tougher fines for cyclists.
The state’s largest motoring organisations said penalties should be equal “to counter the view that cyclists are exempt from rules that apply to motorists’’. “The rationale for the increase is that cyclists who disobey road rules such as riding through red lights put themselves and other users at risk,’’ the submission said. However, the RAA pointed out that cyclists pay a much smaller fine for this offence.
RAA road safety manager Charles Mountain, who wrote the submission, said a review of fines was needed for the sake of equity and road safety. “Some may argue that a cyclist running a red light is not as dangerous as a car — but there is still the propensity to cause a crash,’’ he said. “Take a pedestrian crossing, for example, with schoolchildren crossing while cars are stopped but a cyclist comes through on the inside at 30km/h. There could be a serious injury.’’ Mr Mountain said it was “very important’’ that cyclists obeyed the road rules and increasing penalties might encourage riders to do so.
SA Freight Council chief executive Neil Murphy said “tougher penalties’’ would remind cyclists of their obligation to obey the road rules. “The repercussions are much lower for cyclists than other road users when breaking the law,’’ Mr Murphy said.
Read the Full Story here.
NZ NEWS: CORONER SAID ROAD SAFETY MEASURES FOR TOURISTS SUFFICIENT
A coroner has ruled that road safety measures for tourists in New Zealand are sufficient, although two fatal crashes in two months on Waikato roads were caused by overseas drivers. In February, Americans Warren Lee, 53, Aesoon Lee, 52, and their daughter Julia Lee, 20, died in a crash on State Highway 1, north of Tokoroa. Their son Griffin Lee, 17, died in Waikato Hospital a week later. The following month, American tourist Richard Lee Barnett was driving the vehicle that crashed killing his wife Tamara Garlick Barnett, and friends Bishop Mitch Peterson, 50, and wife Ruth-Ann, 49, near Temple View, outside Hamilton.
Barnett plead guilty in the Hamilton District Court of careless driving causing the deaths before he returned to America to bury his wife and two friends.
At an inquest into the deaths in September, Coroner Gordon Matenga heard that Julia Lee was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed in to a logging truck and killed her family. Taupo Constable Bayley Orr said she believed Lee thought she was driving on the correct side of the road, however she'd actually been driving on the wrong side of the road for quite some time during the trip.
NZTA's Jim Harland said although crashes caused by overseas drivers were highlighted in the media, both local and overseas drivers had similar crash rates. The heart of Harland's evidence was that public perception that overseas drivers were a problem on New Zealand roads, was just that - public perception.
Harland said the statistics did not support public perception and many more people are killed on our roads by New Zealand drivers compared to overseas drivers. Harland also said measures already in place, including a national road safety programme targeting overseas drivers, were effective ways to improve road safety.
After considering all the evidence presented, Matenga agreed and said that road safety issues were being appropriately addressed and no further comment or recommendation would be made.
Read the Entire Story here.
MORE NZ NEWS: ASSOCIATE TRANSPORT MINISTER WELCOMES ONLINE SIMULATION FOR VISITING DRIVERS
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is welcoming an Automobile Association (AA) initiative to help visiting drivers keep themselves and others safe on New Zealand roads. The AA launched its Visiting Drivers Training Programme — an online driving simulator — at Parliament today.
“This programme puts visitors in the driver’s seat of a car and asks them questions about New Zealand road rules and conditions. It will help inform visiting drivers, improve safety and save lives,” Mr Foss says.
The programme is free; however, users are given the option of paying $10 for a certificate that entitles them to discounted rates at rental vehicle firms Thrifty and Europcar.
The AA is part of the Safer Journeys Visiting Drivers Signature Project (VDSP) — a partnership between central government, local government and the private sector.
“The Visiting Drivers Training Programme builds on a number of recently announced initiatives, both Government and industry-led, promoting safe driving messages to international visitors at all stages of their holiday — planning, booking, in-flight, on arrival and on our roads,” Mr Foss says.
“Together, these numerous small actions create a safer system for all road users, including the increasing number of overseas visitors choosing to explore our country by car,” Mr Foss says.
Read the Entire Press Release here.
WA NEWS: DRINK DRIVING - NEW STANDARD DRINK WEBSITE FROM THE WA ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION
Western Australia's Road Safety Commission has launched a new interactive website - Drink Stupid, Drive Stupid - to educate drivers on what constitutes a standard drink.
Visit the Standard Drinks Website here.
QLD NEWS: NEW TECHNOLOGY GIVES EMERGENCY SERVICE VEHICLES PRIORITY AT TRAFFIC LIGHTS ACROSS QUEENSLAND
New technology for Queensland's fire trucks and ambulances will give them green light priority at intersections when travelling to emergency situations throughout Brisbane and major regional centres. Emergency Vehicle Priority (EVP) provides a green light signal to approaching emergency vehicles when safe to do so.
The technology has already been installed at more than 800 intersections, and in 215 ambulances and 69 fire trucks across the state. Over the next four years, a further 1,600 intersections and nearly 700 emergency vehicles will be fitted with the devices at a cost of $13.5 million.
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) have welcomed the rollout of the technology, which they say has already cut travel time by up to 20 per cent in some instances.
Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said he believed the technology to be an Australian-first. "It's a fantastic program. We're looking to do nearly 1,000 new intersections over next couples of years and 680 emergency vehicles," he said. "It's an innovative project of high tech application, we get more out of our road network ... this is the way of the future."
The rollout will begin next year in Mackay and Toowoomba before being progressively rolled out to Gladstone, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast.
The technology is already in place on the Gold Coast, Bundaberg and Townsville where earlier versions were trialled as far back as 2009.
MORE QLD NEWS: MORE WILD HORSES CULLED NEAR BLUEWATER IN BID TO BOOST BRUCE HIGHWAY SAFETY
A Townsville city councillor says a program to cull feral horses near Bluewater, in north Queensland, appears to be preventing fatal car crashes. About 20 horses have recently been culled in the Clemant State Forest since a mass shooting from helicopters last month. The Queensland Government started the operation in response to car crashes caused by horses wandering onto the Bruce Highway.
Cr Sue Blom said she believed the program was working. "The State Government have tried different ways over the years and it hasn't worked," she said. "I'm hoping this, even though it was a severe intervention, this is going to protect us a little better than before."
Cr Blom said she believed the feral horses had now been driven away from the area into the nearby hills. "Going by residents' report and different reports from landowners that I've been speaking with around the Bluewater area, I believe a lot have been removed or moved, so it makes for a safer time," she said. "But by no means be less vigilant because you never know when one might wander down to get a feed on the road."
Read the Full Story
NSW NEWS: NSW ROADS MINISTER BANS 'HOVERBOARDS'
In a move sure to have Doc Brown jumping in the DeLorean to head back to a time when this wasn't true, the NSW Government has declared hoverboards aren't fit for the state's roads.
In a statement, roads minister Duncan Gay said the government was acting to keep people safe, with hoverboards the 'hot ticket' item on Christmas wishlists this year. 'Hoverboards are the hot ticket item on many Christmas wishlists, but we need shoppers to keep safety front of mind before they put their money down,' Mr Gay said.
There's just one catch: the 'hoverboards' Mr Gay is referring to...don't actually hover.
'You may have seen these new contraptions that look like a skateboard with two wheels, or a Segway with no handles,' Mr Gay said, describing a gadget entirely unlike the actual hoverboard so famously ridden by Marty McFly.
The two-wheeled devices took off in the US earlier this year, and cost anywhere up to $1000.
'I don't want to be the Christmas Grinch, but I want people to know and send a message that these new toys have real safety concerns,' the minister added. 'They are motorised and can travel at speeds up to 26km/h, yet require no training to use them, they don't have adequate brakes and don't have lights or warning indicators, meaning they can't interact safely with other road users like pedestrians.'
Anyone caught 'hoverboarding' faces a fine of up to $637. DeLoreans remain legal to drive on NSW roads, provided they remain below 88 miles per hour (or the speed limit).
Read the Complete Article
MORE NSW NEWS: NEW POLICE CAMERAS TARGET UNREGISTERED VEHICLES IN NSW
If you drive an unregistered car, you will be caught thanks to revolutionary new cameras fitted to police cars in NSW. All 405 Highway Patrol cars on the state's roads now carry hi-tech cameras that can scan up to six licence plates a second, looking for potentially deadly unregistered cars.
The Mobile Automatic Number Plate Recognition (MANPR) units are helping to nab more than 150 vehicles every day. And in an effort to rid the roads of the dodgy cars, MANPR is also fitted to 54 general duty cars attached to local police stations.
In the 12 months to 30 June alone there were 16 fatal crashes and more than 400 injury crashes involving an unregistered motor vehicle, figures from the NSW Centre for Road Safety show. Last financial year more than 55,000 drivers of unregistered vehicles were caught.
"We know unregistered vehicles pose a safety risk for everyone on the road," the centre's acting executive director Bernard Carlon said. "They haven't undergone roadworthiness inspections and aren't likely to be adequately covered by insurance."
Read the Full Story
DUTCH NEWS: MORE PEOPLE HOSPITALISED AFTER ACCIDENTS ON DUTCH ROADS
The number of people seriously injured in traffic accidents rose again in 2014, continuing the increase seen in most years since 2007. Figures from the transport ministry show that 20,700 people were hospitalised following traffic accidents in 2014, compared with 18,800 in the year earlier period.
The rise is largely due to accidents involving bikes, stemming from the increased popularity of electric bikes and the use of smartphones by cyclists, road safety organisation VVN said. ‘We do not want people to think cycling is dangerous – we want to get as many people as possible on their bikes,’ the organisation said. ‘However, improvements appear to be needed in 30 and 50 kph zones where most accidents happen, and there should be a greater focus on the needs of bikes and e-bikes,’ director Felix Cohen said.
Only the years 2012 and 2013 showed a slight decrease in the number of serious injuries, for which the ministry has no explanation.
The ministry is collecting more data about traffic accidents in order to improve the situation. Transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen had aimed to reach a maximum of 10,600 series injuries on the roads by 2020, but she said in June that this target will not be achieved.
Read the Original Article here.
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