Sometimes it’s easy to forget just what it is like for truck drivers out on our highways and lose sight of the fact that trucking is still a dangerous industry.
Every new truck which comes out, comes with a long list of abbreviations for all of the latest state-of-the-art computerised safety systems fitted in the latest models. These systems are fantastic and they do save lives every day, they often save truck drivers from themselves, in fact.
At the same time transport companies enact new safety protocols with regular and updated training for all of their employees to follow the latest safety procedures, to always have the safety of every person involved front of mind while they work to get the freight on and off the trucks and and up and down the highway.
There are also legal measures being taken to ensure the transport operator, as well as the consignors and consignees of all of the freight travelling by road, do not stint in applying measures to improve safety for all involved.
Altogether there is a lot of money and effort being spent to up the safety of those involved with trucking. All of these efforts are effective, the accident and death rates in the industry are dropping as a trend and the measures have genuinely saved lives.
However, the fact of the matter is, intrinsically, trucking is still a dangerous industry and the laws involved are not the Chain of Responsibility laws, but the laws of physics. we are talking about mass, velocity, momentum and inertia.
The highways of Australia are set up like a giant physics experiment. There is a large object, made mainly of metal and weighing over 60 or 80 tonnes moving at 100km/h. Then to add in a random factor you put a fallible human being in control.
The experiments include trying to stop this fast moving mass when there is a large camel stood in the middle of the road. An experiment which no-one comes out of well.
Other random changes are made to make keeping the experimental object moving safely in the same direction even more difficult. The road surface is degraded and sometimes fails, sending the moving object off course or making it lose control. Again, this does not end well.
One of the worst aspects of this experiment is introducing other objects onto the road, also travelling from 20 to 100 km/h. To make matters worse the experiment uses people to drive these smaller objects who have zero training about how to behave around the larger heavier objects.
This lack of training leads to a lot of bad decision making on the part of the smaller object’s drivers and quite often their deaths, as the laws of physics come into play and the mass x velocity equation gives us the momentum of the large object colliding with an object of much lower momentum. Yet again, this does not end well.
Everyone involved in the trucking industry should ponder on these basic laws which govern the universe and try to think about the way they work in the trucking industry and consider the difficulty in making the trucking industry safer for everyone in the country.