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Spreading the word about truck safety


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The Press  /  June 2, 2016

The NZ Trucking Association has taken the initiative to educate the public about driving safely around the many trucks which take up New Zealand roads.

In 2014, the Ministry of Transport reported that 67 people died and a further 772 were injured in road crashes involving trucks. The fatalities made up nearly one quarter of all deaths on New Zealand road, the highest ever recorded by the Ministry of Transport.

The main types of fatal truck crashes included head-on collisions, crashes at intersections, and loss of control. Sixty per cent of fatal multi-vehicle truck crashes from 2010-2014 were not caused by the truck driver.

NZ Trucking Association chief executive Dave Boyce said the statistics showed that drivers needed to understand driving from a truck drivers perspective, including blind spots.

"It's become pretty apparent that people don't understand how to behave on the roads around trucks.

"It's not about apportioning blame; people just don't understand," Boyce said.

The Association started a truck road safety programme this week to help educate the public about how to be safe around trucks. It kicked off at Clearview School in Rolleston on Friday.

Heavy Trucks Limited brought two Western Star trucks, which would weigh 50 tonne on the road, to the school for students to spend time in the driver's seat. 

Chief executive Adam Wright said educating children about the issues for truck drivers was vital to bringing down the road toll.

"The kids are just aware now... They might go home and tell the parents.

"It's so important. If we save one life, that's just fantastic," Wright said.

NZ Trucking Association executive officer Carol McGeady said most crashes involving trucks came down to bad decisions.

"People don't know about trucks. Truck drivers know about trucks. People don't know how big, heavy and fast they are.

"This [program] could save somebody's life. There's a big urgency for this," McGeady said.

Boyce said the Rolleston visit was just the beginning.

"It's the first time we've done it... [but] we want to roll it out nationally," he said.

The programme comes to Cheviot and Age Concern in Christchurch later this month.

SAFETY TIPS

Air turbulence: Trucks are big and create a lot of air turbulence around them. This can affect your vehicle when you are passing, or if they are passing you.

Cyclist blind zones: A marked cycle lane is not safe if the driver can't see you. If the truck is turning left, don't take a risk, let the truck go first.

Don't pull out in front: At an intersection the space between you and an oncoming truck may look large. Trucks are heavy and take a long time to stop.

Passing a truck: Before passing, sit back far enough so you can see both truck mirrors and the driver can see you. Indicate to show the driver your intentions.

Pedestrian crossing: Trucks cannot stop quickly because they are very big and heavy Never run to get in front of a moving truck.

Pull off the road: When you pull over make sure you pull completely off the road.

Truck blind zones: Truck drivers use their mirrors so if you sit in a blind zone, they might not see you. A truck driver will indicate when turning so sit back and be aware.

Turning trucks: When a truck starts its turn it may have to enter your lane to do so. It's safer not to undertake or overtake a turning truck until the truck has completed its turn.

Unexpected splash or spray: Watch out for splash and spray when you are following or passing a truck when the road is wet. Splash and spray can make it difficult for you to see.

Wide load follows: It can be confusing when you see a large load coming towards you It could be a large load and a very tall load. Immediately slow down and pull as far to the left off the road as you can.

Video and photo gallery - http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/80480193/spreading-the-word-about-truck-safety

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