|(Other news' outlines articles circulating in the public domain, listed in random order. Inclusion does not imply endorsement.)
ROAD DEATHS AUSTRALIA MONTHLY BULLETIN: NOVEMBER 2015
This bulletin contains current counts and summaries of road crash deaths and fatal road crashes in Australia. It is produced monthly and published on the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economic's (BITRE's) website on or around the 14th of each month. Data are sourced from the road traffic or police authorities in each jurisdiction.
Monthly Australian road deaths - last five years, with trend
November 2015 : At a glance
- There was a total of 91 road deaths during the month of November 2015. In comparison to the average for November over the previous five years, the current figure is 22.5 per cent lower.
- During the 12 months ended November there were 1,194 road deaths. This is a 1.6 per cent increase compared to the total for the 12-monthly period ended November 2014.
- Presently the rate of annual deaths per 100,000 population stands at 5.0. Compared to the figure for the 12-monthly period ending November 2014, this is a 0.3 per cent increase.
Monthly deaths by jurisdiction - last 24 month
(raw and smoothed, 13-point moving average)
Read the Complete Bulletin here.
BILL SHORTEN FINED $455, LOOSES FOUR DEMERIT POINTS FOR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IN MELBOURNE
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been fined $455 and has lost four demerit points after he was caught using his mobile phone while driving in Melbourne. A video, obtained by News Corp, showed Mr Shorten driving along Kings Way in August this year with his phone in hand.
Today he made a public apology for the incident. "Like most drivers, I always try to do the right thing," he said. "But there's no doubt that using your phone while driving is the wrong thing to do — there's no excuse for it. I shouldn't have done it and won't do it again."
Mr Shorten told reporters he had contacted Victorian Police about the vision and would accept any fine that is issued. It is understood Mr Shorten had just dropped his children off at music practice. The vision suggests the person who filmed the incident may also have been driving at the time.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has defended Mr Shorten. "Bill has said exactly that, that he did the wrong thing, that he won't do it again," Mr Albanese told Channel Nine. "He hasn't made excuses, he's put his hand up and it's a regretful incident but it's one that he's done the right thing and apologised for."
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne took the opportunity to suggest the incident was a metaphor for Mr Shorten's standing as Labor leader. "My strong advice to Bill is to keep both his hands on the wheel at all times and then he's not going to get into any trouble," Mr Pyne told Channel Nine. "But obviously I sympathise with him because obviously things aren't going very well for him."
It follows an incident last month where Mr Shorten sideswiped a number of cars in Melbourne, after he spilled coffee on himself.
Read the Original Story here.
ACT NEWS: ACT TRAUMA SURGEON WARNS DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN OVER SUMMER
When drivers' bodies are torn apart in serious crashes on the ACT region's roads, Canberra Hospital trauma surgeon Dr Ailene Fitzgerald is among those tasked with putting them back together. Hospital staff and emergency services crews are bracing themselves for the summer onslaught and urging motorists to take it slow as they prepare to hit the roads for the summer holidays.
Dr Fitzgerald, who is director of the hospital's Shock Trauma Service, said road crashes accounted for 50 per cent of the hospital's trauma patients and young people were over-represented among that group. "We know over the holiday period we absolutely will see some road traffic accidents and often they're preventable, often they're caused by speed, alcohol, fatigue, texting or other distractions," she said.
Ten people have died on the territory's roads so far in 2015, which is already one more than last year's road toll. Provisional drivers make up 20 per cent of all ACT drivers involved in fatal crashes and 15 per cent of drivers in crashes that caused injuries, despite only making up six per cent of licence holders.
Patients were rushed into emergency wards with life-threatening head and chest injuries, internal abdominal injuries and shattered and broken bones. But in the weeks and months after the crash they were often plagued by ongoing mental health problems, chronic pain and disability.
Dr Fitzgerald said the impact on patients, families and the health system was significant. "We talk about mortality, but it's often the younger age groups who have long-term disabilities so the amount of lost work years is huge." While trauma staff were focused on treating patients in emergency situations, nobody went untouched by the tragic circumstances surrounding some critical crash patients.
She said families faced with the worst of news about a loved one tended to respond with overwhelming grief and, often, disbelief. "I think if you've been involved in that situation you really think twice before getting behind the wheel."
Dr Fitzgerald said the majority of hospital resources were sucked up in the patient rehabilitation phase and motorists with a disability who needed long-term care. "The cost to the individual, the family and the community at large is huge and often underestimated in trauma."
MORE ACT NEWS: CANBERRA TO BATEMANS BAY: WHERE AND WHEN PEOPLE CRASH ON THE KINGS HIGHWAY
A 132-kilometre stretch of highway connects Queanbeyan to Batemans Bay. Knowing where its blackspots are may help you make it to the end. Highway patrol officers will begin a blitz of the Kings Highway this week as waves of Canberrans roll down the coast for summer, but researchers have shed light on where, when and why people are likely to crash on the road.
Sahar Alian co-authored a paper on the Kings Highway which was presented to the Australasian Road Safety Conference earlier this year, and said road geometry, time and direction of travel and driver behaviour all interact to influence crashes on the road. "In general the risk of having a crash is higher at night. But crash rates are higher during the day travelling eastbound down the coast probably due to the stronger effect of road geometry [the combination of curvature and vertical grade] on driver behaviour travelling eastbound," she said.
The biggest crash clusters are located in the first five, windy kilometres of the Clyde Mountain area travelling eastbound. Mrs Alian said most of these crashes occur during the day.
The researchers homed in on driver behaviour in this area in particular, especially in the way the road geometry impacted the crash rate. They found while the high rate of night crashes may be written off as speed, the lack of visual field or driver experience, the daytime results means the road geometry may have a stronger influence. They unequivocally found you were more likely to crash during the day if you were heading eastbound, downhill.
Mrs Alian said further study will be required to fully explore the driver's role in crashes in this particular area. All in all, they found there was a crash rate of 2.45 cars for every 100,000 motor vehicles which travelled on the Kings Highway in a 24-hour period between the years 2007 and 2011.
The mean age of the driver involved was 40 years and the majority were male, however the age plunged to a mean of 33 years at night. The crash rate also rose to 3.25 crashes per 100,000 motor vehicles during the 12-hour evening period. The researchers chose to focus on Kings Highway as it bucked the trend in terms of road casualties.
While casualty rates on Australian roads decreased in the decade leading up to 2010, a 2013 review by NSW Transport found casualties actually rose on the Kings Highway between 2009 and 2011. Research undertaken by the NRMA in 2005 found the Kings Highway had an average of one crash every four days over the period of a decade.
Since 2011, the NSW state government has invested more than $62.5 million in safety upgrades on the Kings Highway upgrades. The researchers suggested road authorities look at implementing variable speed limits along the road.
President of the Australasian College of Road Safety and Bungendore resident Lauchlan McIntosh said those efforts to "cut out a lot of blackspots" aren't reflected in this dataset due to its age. But he believed it was a useful analysis of where money can be better invested along the highway to reduce hazards.
"Quite often we take crashes as the only indicator of where the road is bad and that may not be the case, we may have a lot of near-misses," Mr McIntosh said. "You've got to take as much data as you can and see what you can do to avoid the crash. It's a welcome paper and it should help if people take the data and reduce the hazards on the highway."
Read the Complete Article here.
NZ NEWS: CANTERBURY POLICE URGE CAUTION ON RURAL ROADS AFTER SPIKE OF BAD CRASHES
John Lamers could see the terror in the old man's eyes. "It was a look on his face that said 'this is the moment'." Lamers, 52, gripped the steering wheel tightly. His foot was hard on the brakes, but the crash was inevitable. "I remember saying 'stop, stop, stop', but I couldn't."
His red Toyota Hilux, which was towing a horse float, slammed into the driver's side of the silver Nissan Primera at a rural intersection near West Melton, west of Christchurch. Lamers, who was not at fault, walked away from the crash.
The occupants of the Nissan, Patrick and Betty Barry, from Christchurch, were not so lucky. The couple, aged 88 and 81, are among 43 people who have died on Canterbury's roads this year, compared to 33 for the same period in 2014.
Their grieving family are preparing for their first Christmas without them. They are urging people to drive carefully, particularly on rural roads they do not know well. "It was instant, sudden and unexpected," the couple's daughter Anne-Marie Tulkens said, wiping tears from her eyes. "I didn't get a chance to say goodbye."
Read the Full Story here.
NSW NEWS: WILL YOUR DRIVERLESS CAR KILL YOU SO OTHERS MAY LIVE?
Decisions on how driverless cars are programmed to avoid collisions and protect passengers must be open to public scrutiny.
It's 2025. You and your daughter are riding in a driverless car along the highway. The autonomous vehicle rounds a corner and detects a crossing full of children. It brakes, but your lane is unexpectedly full of sand from a recent rockslide. It can't get traction. Your car does some calculations: If it continues braking, there's a 90 per cent chance that it will kill at least three children. Should it save them by steering you and your daughter off the cliff?
This isn't an idle thought experiment. Driverless cars will be programmed to avoid collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles. They will also be programmed to protect the safety of their passengers. What happens in an emergency when these two aims come into conflict?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is trying to draw up safety regulations for autonomous vehicles. These regulations might or might not specify when it is acceptable for collision-avoidance programs to expose passengers to risk to avoid harming others – for example, by crossing the double yellow line or attempting an uncertain manoeuvre on ice.
Google, which operates most of the driverless cars being street-tested in California, prefers that the department not insist on specific functional safety standards. Instead, Google proposes that manufacturers "self-certify" the safety of their vehicles, with substantial freedom to develop collision-avoidance algorithms as they see fit.
Regulatory agencies will need to set some boundaries. For example, some rules should presumably be excluded as too selfish. Consider the oversimple rule of protecting the car's occupants at all costs. This would imply that if the car calculates that the only way to avoid killing a pedestrian would involve sideswiping a parked truck, with a 5 per cent chance of injury to the car's passengers, then the car should instead kill the pedestrian.
Read the Full Story here.
MORE NSW NEWS: EXPENSIVE CHILD BOOSTER SEATS PERFORM POORLY IN NEW SAFETY TESTS BY NRMA
Some of the most expensive kids booster seats on the market have performed poorly in new safety tests conducted by the NRMA. Ahead of the Christmas holiday period, the motoring association wants parents to know they do not have to spend big to keep their little ones safe in the car.
The Child Restraint Evaluation Program, supported by the NRMA and other major motoring organisations including the RACV, VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission, tested 17 kids booster seats under extreme conditions. While each of the child restraints met Australian Standards, the NRMA gave two products — the forward facing Safety 1st Sentinel II and the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP ISOGO — a minimum one star rating for safety.
NRMA’s Senior Policy Advisor, Dimitra Vlahomitros, said it was “disturbing” the two child seats scored so poorly, given the testing program has been running for 15 years. “Some of the most expensive restraints have the poorest safety scores,” Ms Vlahomitros said. Ms Vlahomitros said the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP ISOGO, which scored one safety star, sells for around $430, while the best booster seat in testing sold for less than $64.
“The fundamental message to parents from these tests is that safety does not necessarily come at a price and that price is not the guarantor of safety,” she said.
But Sharyn Perry, the head of marketing for Dorel, the company which manufactures the Safety 1st Sentinel II and the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP ISOGO, said the NRMA audit was not representative of the full Australian Standards testing regime. “Both products have undergone and passed rigorous Australian standards testing and certification as well as ongoing batch testing. ,” Ms Perry said.
“We are very concerned these results will confuse consumers as the definitive car seat safety criteria in Australia is certification to AS/NZ 1754 by SAI Global and the ‘Five Ticks Certified Product’ standards mark as a sign of quality and excellence in the marketplace,” she said.
Centre for Road Safety spokesman person Bernard Carlon said whatever product parents choose, it is vital child restraints are correctly fitted. “If children aren’t correctly secured, they’re seven times more likely to receive life threatening injuries than those properly secured,” he said.
Read the Original Story here.
MORE NSW NEWS: RAID ON COLES DISTRIBUTION CENTRE UNCOVERS TRUCK DEFECTS AND DRUG USE
A police raid on a Coles distribution centre at Sydney's Eastern Creek on Thursday has led to two drivers returning positive drug tests and 62 truck defect notices. The discovery has prompted NSW Roads and Maritime to warn the supermarket giant that "rapid cultural change" is needed to ensure it complies with heavy vehicle safety laws.
As part of Operation Capicure, more than 60 officers and inspectors from Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police swooped on the Coles distribution centre following complaints about overloaded trucks, driver fatigue and load restraints.
RMS safety and compliance director Peter Wells said it was the third time inspectors had carried out operations at Coles' distribution centres in 18 months and "we are seeing the same poor practices". "As one of the largest distributors in the country managing the movement of thousands of trucks every day, these results are unacceptable and compromise safety," he said. The defects included a truck with two punctured tyres, another with bald tyres and others with oil and fuel leaks.
Apart from issuing 62 defect notices, inspectors found more than 29 load restraint problems. One driver tested positive to cannabis, and another to both cannabis and methamphetamine.
Mr Wells called on Coles management and directors to "ensure there is rapid cultural change to ensure legal compliance with the requirements for heavy vehicle safety". "It seems from today's results that no effective checks and balances are in place to ensure loads are safely secured or associated risks minimised," Mr Wells said. "We will meet with Coles executive directors to discuss the disappointing findings to ensure there is a vast improvement in compliance levels and safety."
Mr Wells said company directors could be held criminally responsible for the kind of breaches inspectors discovered at the Coles centre on Thursday. Fines for non-compliance exceed $10,000 for individuals, and can be more than $50,000 per offence for freight companies.
A Coles spokesman said the company took road safety and its chain-of-responsibility obligations "very seriously and always responds immediately to any concerns raised" by authorities or partner companies.
Read the Complete Article here. Read related articles 'Retailers must do better on Chain of Responsibitily: TWU' and 'Coles say they will take compliance issues seriously'.
MORE NSW NEWS: RIDE WINS AFTER KANGAROO CRASH
A rider who hit a kangaroo on an outback NSW road in 2013 has won his bid for compensation in the NSW Supreme Court which is good news for riders involved in blameless accidents. The case may still be subject to appeal, so caution is needed in celebrations but the ruling was so comprehensive an appeal seems unlikely.
The rider was travelling south on the dirt road between Hungerford and Bourke in 2013 on an BMW F 650 GS Dakar when a roo jumped out of the shadows and hit the rider, resulting in serious injuries. Hungerford road is one of the long straight and wide red dirt and bull dust roads typical of the far west of NSW. It is only graded every six months or so and often corrugated, with low scrub on both sides.
A claim for injury compensation was made under the NSW CTP no-fault insurance scheme. The CTP insurer rejected the claim on the basis that the driver in a single vehicle accident was not entitled to claim under the NSW CTP scheme and secondly that it was not a blameless accident due to the speed the rider was travelling at even though it was under the 100km/h speed limit for the road.
The case required thorough examination of the way the NSW legislation is written to determine the ability of the rider to make the claim and then examination of whether the speed of the rider was a factor in the cause of the accident.
The court case has clarified that under the NSW CTP scheme a rider or driver is entitled to claim where the accident is not as a result of their own actions or in other words is a “blameless accident”. This is an important legal point for riders and drivers.
Secondly the Judge has accepted the rider’s judgement that the speed at the time of the accident was appropriate in the road conditions at the time of the accident. It is not often a rider’s judgement is accepted over the experts who are brought into a case years after the fact of an accident.
Read the Full Story here.
SA NEWS: STATE ANNOUNCES CTP INSURANCE CHANGES
South Australia has revealed an overhaul of its CTP insurance scheme which will see four insurers become providers of the cover in the state. The changes will see QBE, AAMI, SGIC Insurance and Allianz become the four providers of the cover from July 1 2016.
The move will see more than one million motorists in the state allocated to one of the four insurers and state treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis said the move will be an easy transition.
“Importantly, this model provides a seamless transition for South Australian motorists,” Koutsantonis said. “All four private insurers have entered into an undertaking and agreement in which they have accepted the duties and obligations of the private provision of CTP. These are designed to protect motorists and ensure fair and affordable CTP insurance premiums.”
Read the Entire Story here.
VIC NEWS: VICTORIA ROAD TOLL - EIGHT DEAD IN THREE DAYS
Three people have died in separate road crashes overnight, less than a day after a horror weekend on Victoria's roads that claimed five lives. A grandmother and her 11-year-old granddaughter were among eight people killed in less than three days. Their deaths take the state's road death toll to 243, three more than at the same time last year.
In the latest crashes, a motorist was killed and a truck driver suffered minor injuries when their vehicles collided at Merebin South near Mildura at 6pm on Monday. The crash occurred at the intersection of River Avenue and the Sturt Highway.
In a separate incident, a truck driver was killed when his semi-trailer slammed into a tree and burst into flames at Arcadia, near Shepparton. The prime mover was travelling south on the Goulburn Valley Highway, between Gribben and Karramomus roads, when it veered off the road and hit the tree about 12.50am. The truck caught fire, with the driver trapped inside.
A second fiery crash occurred in Moriac, near Waurn Ponds, about 1.40am. It is believed a Holden sedan was travelling east along Cape Otway Road, through the township, when it veered right off the road, hit a power pole and burst into flames. The driver and sole occupant of the car died at the scene. Cape Otway Road was expected to remain closed, between Hendy Main and Church roads, until 7am.
All three victims are yet to be formally identified.
The crashes come after a horror weekend on the state's roads, which claimed the lives of five people, including a grandmother and her 11-year-old granddaughter. There were three major crashes, two of which resulted in double fatalities.
The fatalities prompted police to make an impassioned plea for all Victorians to take responsibility on the road as the holiday period approaches. "We all have a voice when it comes to road safety and it is important that we use it to ensure that our loved ones are not lost on the road," said Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer.
Read the Entire Story here.
WA NEWS: WA GOVERNMENT URGES DRINK DRIVERS TO 'GROW UP' IN NEW ROAD SAFETY ADVERTS
The State Government has launched its latest road safety campaigns, urging motorists to eliminate drink driving and 'grow up'. Ahead of the holiday season road Safety Minister Liza Harvey claimed the drink driving adverts, 'Only A Little Bit Over' and 'Grow Up', primarily target young men and reinforce that drink driving is juvenile behaviour.
Ms Harvey said although all motorists had something to learn from the campaign the highest proportion of drivers in serious or fatal alcohol-related crashes were men aged between 17 and 24. "More than 80 per cent of people killed or seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes were men and they need to understand that it's not just a matter of losing your licence - you could lose your life or kill someone else," she said
"Recent statistics show about a quarter of fatal crashes were related to drink driving and that should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks even a little bit over the limit is okay."
"After intense education campaigns this year we have seen about half the number of people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2015 but there are still many families who will be without a loved one this Christmas because of road trauma,"
The new campaign has been released this week in conjunction with the re-launch of the State Government's motorbike campaign, after 44 motorcyclists and passengers were killed on WA roads last year.
Read the Complete Article here.
MORE WA NEWS: NEW ROAD CRASH RESCUE EQUIPMENT TO HELP FIREFIGHTERS ACROSS WA
- Two initiatives made possible by Road Safety Commission grants of $626,600
- New equipment means quicker and more comfortable extrication of vehicle occupants
Firefighters attending road crashes will be able to rescue passengers more quickly and comfortably thanks to an expansion of road crash rescue capability across the State. Minister for Emergency Services Joe Francis and Minister for Road Safety Liza Harvey today announced the rollout of specialised heavy rescue equipment to key locations across WA, along with a suite of modern lithium ion powered rescue tools. The projects have been made possible by $626,600 worth of grants from the Road Safety Commission.
Mr Francis said many road crashes attended by fire and emergency services occurred in remote and regional areas, some involving heavy vehicles like buses and trains. “Road crashes can occur in any location across the state, so the need to have well-equipped road crash rescue and heavy rescue units available is vital,” he said. “These specialised pieces of equipment will mean our firefighters, including volunteers, are better equipped than ever to deal with these sorts of incidents.”
Ms Harvey said the new initiative would contribute to improved road trauma outcomes. “The new equipment will enable emergency responders to extract vehicle occupants more quickly and comfortably, reducing the likelihood of critical injury,” she said. “This will undoubtedly help us move toward the Road Safety Commission’s target of reducing road deaths and injury by 11,000 by 2020.”
The two initiatives will mean faster deployment of rescue resources and will also expose volunteers to new and advanced rescue methods.
Read the Complete Media Release here.
QLD NEWS: QUEENSLAND ROAD TOLL CONCERNS FROM EMERGENCY DOCTORS
A father drives his kids home after drinking at a barbecue. He loses control and crashes, killing his daughter and severely injuring his son. He walks away with only minor injuries but has to live forever with the choices he made.
It's one of many tragedies emergency doctor Sally McCarthy will never forget. "Clearly that was a very, very tragic case on many levels and had substantial impacts both on the staff in emergency departments and obviously on the poor family," she said. "I've never forgotten that one and unfortunately we all know about why we shouldn't drink and drive but people unfortunately still sometimes do it."
On Friday Associate Professor McCarthy, chair of the Brisbane-based Emergency Medicine Foundation, made a plea on behalf of the doctors whose job it was to put broken bodies back together after car crashes.
As of Friday, 227 people had died on Queensland roads in 2015, 12 more than the same period last year. Nationally, the 12 months to October had seen more deaths than the previous period in every state except Western Australia.
The EMF, along with just about every agency regularly involved with the horrific aftermath of road crashes, was calling on drivers to take extra care on roads at Christmas time - a plea that had so often fallen on deaf ears.
Read the Complete Article
MORE QLD NEWS: RAIL SAFETY CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED IN CAIRNS AFTER SPIKE IN NEAR MISSES
Queensland Rail is pleading with motorists to obey signals and signs at level crossings following a spike in crashes and near misses in the Far North. The State Government has launched a regional rail safety campaign highlighting the dangers of ignoring signals and signs at level crossings, and warning motorists and pedestrians not to risk their lives around the rail corridor during the Christmas school holidays. This follows a crash involving a cane train and a car and boat at Gordonvale on Monday, and a bus that crashed into a tourist train at a level crossing at Portsmith in June, injuring 22 people.
Last financial year 100 motorists and pedestrians risked their lives around rail lines in regional Queensland by running the gauntlet in front of an oncoming train – an increase of 10 per cent on 2014.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said he was disappointed near misses at level crossings in regional Queensland were continuing, as every incident had the potential to turn into something much worse in just a matter of seconds. “This Christmas the State Government has launched a media campaign across print and radio in Rockhampton, Longreach, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Mt Isa, pleading with people to stay safe at level crossings,” he said. “Saving a few minutes at a level crossing is just not worth the ultimate risk of potentially losing your own life or the lives of loved ones.”
Queensland Rail Train Driver Shaun Wrobluskie said what many people did not realise was that trains could travel up to speeds of 160km/h and could not swerve to avoid someone and could take several hundred metres to stop. “It’s not just the motorist or pedestrian who is affected by these incidents, but the passengers, train crew and drivers can suffer long-lasting psychological effects that can impact them for years. “I have had several incidents involving level crossings in my time as a driver and it is not something I would want any of my colleagues going through. It can be very traumatic,” he said.
Read the Complete Article here.
MORE QLD NEWS: BAN TRUCKS FROM CITY ROADS WITHOUT BLIND SPOT WARNING TECHNOLOGY - CORONER
A Queensland coroner has recommended trucks be banned from congested city roads unless they are fitted with technology that warns drivers of the presence of other road users in their extensive blind spots. Coroner Christine Clements delivered eight findings on the September 2014 death of Danish cyclist Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer on Wednesday, following a week-long hearing in August.
The 22-year-old student was hit and killed by a truck at the intersection of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in South Brisbane, as she cycled to the University of Queensland on the morning of September 11, 2014, in front of dozens of horrified onlookers.
The notorious intersection is regarded one of the most dangerous in Brisbane for cyclists, feeding into Annerley Road, which has been identified as Queensland's worst black-spot for cyclist crashes by the RACQ. At the inquest, distressed truck driver Jody Jeffrey said he did not see Ms Meyer sitting in the black-spot of his truck as both sat in Stanley Street, waiting to turn right into Annerley Road.
In her findings delivered on Wednesday, Ms Clement made eight recommendations, including that conventional trucks such as that driven by Mr Jeffrey that day be banned from congested roadways if they were not fitted with warning technology that alerted them to other road users in their blind spots.
The inquest heard that such trucks have a seven-metre blind spot in which drivers can not see other road users. "Conventional-shaped heavy vehicles should be prohibited unless they are fitted with appropriate technologies to warn the driver of any obstacles or other road users within the forward blind spot of the truck," Ms Clements found.
The coroner also recommended an education campaign for other road users to warn them of the extent of the danger when travelling alongside trucks. "Publicly disseminated information for car drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists should aim to educate them about the extent of the blind spot in front of conventional-shaped heavy vehicles," she found. "Eye-level signage at the back of the vehicles ... could assist in alerting other road users to the danger of positioning themselves directly in front of conventional-shaped heavy vehicles."
Among the seven other recommendations Ms Clements made were that Brisbane City Council engage with cyclist advocacy groups to plan more dedicated exclusive bikeways across Brisbane, as a matter of priority.
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US NEWS: US DEPT OF TRANSPORT BRINGS 5-STAR SAFETY RATINGS INTO A NEW SAFETY ERA
The U.S. Department of Transportation today proposed high-tech changes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for new vehicles. The planned changes will improve on the well-known safety ratings by adding an additional crash test, using new and more human-like crash test dummies, rating crash-avoidance advanced technologies, and assessing pedestrian protection. These proposed changes will give consumers even better information to help them choose a safe vehicle, and will encourage manufacturers to produce vehicles with better crash protection and new technology innovations that will save lives.
“NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings have set the bar on safety since it began in 1978, and today we are raising that bar,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The changes provide more and better information to new-vehicle shoppers that will help accelerate the technology innovations that saves lives.”
The 5-Star Safety Ratings, also known as the New Car Assessment Program, crash-tests new vehicles every year and currently rates them on how well they protect occupants in frontal, side and rollover crashes. Results from these tests are compiled into a rating of 1 to 5 stars, with more stars indicating a safer car. The vehicle safety ratings appear on window stickers of new cars, and searchable ratings are available on NHTSA’s Safercar.gov website. The current program also includes a checklist of recommended advanced technology features such as rear-visibility cameras, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
The planned changes to the 5-Star Safety Ratings system include:
- A new 5-Star Safety Ratings system, which will, for the first time, encompass assessment of crash-avoidance and advanced technologies as well as pedestrian protection;
- New tests to assess how well vehicles protect pedestrians from head, leg and pelvic injuries that occur when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle;
- A new frontal oblique crash test that measures how well vehicles protect occupants in an angled frontal crash;
- An improved full frontal barrier crash test to drive safety improvements for rear seat occupants;
- New crash test dummies, including the Test device for Human Occupant Restraint, (THOR) and WorldSID, that will provide vastly improved data on the effects a crash is likely to have on the human body;
- An assessment of additional crash-avoidance and advanced technologies that offer drivers the most potential for avoiding or mitigating crashes;
- Use of half-star increments to provide consumers more discriminating information about vehicle safety performance; and
- The ability to dynamically update the program more swiftly as new safety technologies emerge.
“NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program was the first of its kind, and the idea has now spread around the world,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Today, we’re adding to that legacy of global safety leadership, ensuring that American consumers have the best possible information about how to protect themselves and their families, and taking a significant step forward in our efforts to save lives and prevent injuries.”
Read the Complete Press Release here.
GOVERNMENT WANTS TO TRANSLATE AUSTRALIAN ROAD SIGNS INTO MANDARIN
The federal tourism minister will propose translating Australian road signs into Mandarin at a meeting of state and territory tourism heads next year. In a bid to get Chinese tourists off the beaten track, federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck is proposing translating road signs into Mandarin.
Senator Colbeck is floating the idea in an effort to capture more of the lucrative Chinese tourism market. Despite having "no firm plans", he says he will present the suggestion to state and territory leaders at his first tourism ministers' meeting in 2016.
"With close to a million visitors from China coming to Australia, injecting $7.7 billion into the economy annually and growing, we must do whatever we can to ensure they enjoy their experience and want to return," he told AAP. "About 40 per cent of Chinese tourists are choosing to self-drive so signage, roads, wi-fi and basic amenities are important to encourage them to explore our vast country safely."
Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond fully supports the proposal, adding dual language signage is already evident at a number of private sector tourist attractions. "It's not just about bus tours anymore, they want to get in the car and they want to drive so they need to understand the Australian road rules, and we need to help them get around," she said. She said the use of electronic signage could be the key to reducing potential roll-out costs.
According to data from Tourism Research Australia, the country experienced a 22 per cent surge in Chinese tourists and a 43 per cent rise in their expenditure in the year ending September 2015.
Read the Full Story here.
RECRUITING THE NEXT GENERATION OF YOUNG ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS
Whether it is by foot, bike, car, bus or train, the morning commute to work is something most Australians undertake every working day. The question of how to get from ‘a’ to ‘b’ is solved by the prevalence of reliable and safe transport and infrastructure.
The sad truth is that how this infrastructure and these transport systems are built and maintained may never be fully understood by the general public. A commuter driving to work won’t necessarily see the road they’re using as more than a just road. However, sadder still, according to Mike Shackleton, Executive Manager of ARRB Academy, young university graduates do not see beyond the face value of a road either and, more importantly, don’t see the valuable research and maintenance roles behind these roads as a viable career path.
“It doesn’t get a lot of hype – a lot of people haven’t really thought of transport or infrastructure as a serious career option,” he says. Dr. Shackleton says that he believes there’s a gap in young scientists and engineers entering the transport and infrastructure sectors, and refers to a report from Austroads which highlights this particular issue.
In 2006, the Austroads Capability Taskforce commissioned BIS Shrapnel to provide a detailed outlook for road construction and maintenance activity for 2006 to 2015. Following the global financial crisis in 2007/2008, an updated report was commissioned for the decade to 2019 and was published in 2010.
The report, Australia and New Zealand Roads Capability Analysis 2009-2019, through its nominated capability model detailed that after the 2014/15 financial year, new skilled labour (i.e. graduates) in Australia will not be enough to meet the forecasted labour demand in the roads sector. The report found that this gap between demand for and stock of labour, in theory, may result in a capability shortfall between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 financial years.
The report also noted that the global financial crisis saw many private sector companies curtail their graduate intake programs during 2010. This, the report found, may hinder growth, particularly if careful consideration is not given to graduates as they leave university, as students considering engineering will opt for careers based on the experience of existing graduates.
Despite the report’s findings, Dr. Shackleton explains there are a lot of ways to entice young graduates to a rewarding career in the transport, roads and infrastructure sectors, particularly if the whole industry shifts its focus to said future engineers and researchers.
Part of the struggle is communicating to graduates and students that a career in transport and infrastructure is one where they can be both in the field getting things done and in the laboratory working out how they should be done. “Young people want to get out and get things done,” he says. “Very few of them think about a career in road research – they think that there’s too much of one thing.” That one thing being either predominantly lab work or field research.
Dr. Shackleton says seeing past the simple function of a road or transport reveals an innovative and open-minded industry that perfectly suits the environmentally minded engineers and scientists of tomorrow, one that doesn’t just limit a researcher to one sector of the industry.
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