Rest areas to promote truckie safety

The safety of truck drivers is the focus of a new smart rest area trial in regional New South Wales.

The NSW government, in conjunction with the federal government, is to set up seven rest areas along a 210 kilometre stretch of the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Gilgandra. At the rest areas, drivers can receive instant information about upcoming stops and what facilities are available.

This incentive would be important to any fleet manager who has heavy trucks in their fleet as trucks were involved in 56 fatal crashes in the state last year, according to Transport for NSW.

Centre for Road Safety General Manager Marg Prendergast said the aim of the trial was to improve road safety for truck drivers by providing them with information using Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS) technology.

"Each rest area will be fitted with equipment that measures the size of the vehicles entering and leaving the rest area, and how much parking is available," she said.

"An 'app' will then tell participating drivers whether parking is available for their size of vehicle. The equipment only measures vehicle length and cannot identify vehicles or drivers."

The four month trial, starting in late May, is hoped to bring an improved industry productivity level and better heavy vehicle road safety.

A way that businesses can already increase the level of safety in their fleets is by introducing fleet management software and by conducting regular fleet maintenance.

By installing the software for fleet management, businesses can be confident that the fleet is in the best possible condition before drivers hit the road. Services are recorded and reminders are emailed to drivers about upcoming checks for fleet vehicles.

This is important if a vehicle is involved in a crash as that data can be used to assist insurance claims and internal investigations.