ACT Government targets tailgaters

Tailgating is a problem all across Australia, particularly in metropolitan areas and tightly packed central business districts. The impact this can have on road safety is the focus of a new road safety campaign in the ACT.

In Canberra last year there were 7,863 reported traffic crashes, according to a recent government report. Almost half of these were rear-end collisions, often the result of tailgating. Last year, this type of accident involved 15,399 vehicles, resulted in 792 casualties and caused 140 hospital admissions as well as seven deaths.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said that while the dangers persist, many drivers can underestimate the stopping distance of their vehicle.

Mr Corbell explained: "The stopping distance at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour (kph) is 56 metres. At 100 kph the stopping distance increases to 127 metres," or about two cricket pitches.

Protecting your fleet

For a fleet manager, the cost of these crashes to a business can be significant in both direct and indirect ways. As well as putting a strain on finances with repair costs and potentially rising insurance premiums, rear-end crashes are particularly dangerous in causing whiplash.

By not being able to see and brace for the impact of the crash, the victim of a rear-end collision can be affected by both long-and short-term health problems. This can result in elongated periods off work for employees and can significantly affect the running of fleet services.

Even without a collision, tailgating can lead to fines for drivers and businesses. In the 2013/14 financial year, ACT police issued 104 traffic infringement notices and 108 cautions to drivers for tailgating, Mr Corbell said. The new awareness program aims to lower these statistics.

"This campaign is intended to raise awareness of the impact of tailgating and encourage drivers to slow down and provide a safe gap to the car in front," the attorney-general concluded.

The message will be shown in a TV commercial campaign throughout October; however, the theme can be taken nationwide in order to protect businesses and better serve fleet drivers.