Call to respect trucks out on the road

The Victorian freight industry continues to grow at a rapid pace and this is resulting in a far greater number of trucks on state roads.

However, VicRoads Chief Executive John Merritt​ has explained that all parties must learn to show more respect for heavy vehicles.

VicRoads' data reveals there were 28 deaths on state roads last year which had a truck involved. Already this year, that figure has been exceeded and authorities are deeply concerned about motorist interaction with trucks. Mr Merritt has held discussions with the heavy vehicle industry and told of truck drivers worried about dangerous behaviour from other road users.

"We also fully expect truck drivers to be considerate of other road users; however we are seeing a lot of examples of risk taking and poor decisions by car drivers when they mix with trucks," he said.

"These examples involve cars sitting right behind trucks in their blind spots, or cutting in front of trucks when entering a highway or overtaking."

The freight industry is expected to continue developing for some years with ports in Melbourne, Geelong, Portland and the Port of Hastings all under construction.

"The freight task is doubling every 15-20 years and currently generates $19-$23 billion for the state economy each year, which is 15 per cent of the economy," Mr Merritt said.

This means that fleet managers will have to develop adequate training procedures to ensure drivers know best practice when dealing with trucks on the road. Mr Merritt explained if more respect was showed between motorists and truck drivers, the roads would be safer and everyone would get to their destination on time.

Fleet managers looking to improve safety could invest in fleet management software that can provide roadside assistance when an incident occurs. With the roads becoming busier, the software can also track driver hours and ensure fatigue doesn't become an issue.