Industry News

Have your say in regulator’s safety survey

Safety is at the core of what we do at the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

As the central body enforcing the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) across Australia, we know the unique challenges heavy vehicles face on our roads each and every day.

Understanding how those working in the heavy vehicle industry are managing their safety responsibilities is a crucial cog in delivering effective and up-to-date safety initiatives, alongside our industry partners.

One of the most important tools in expanding our understanding of the current state of play is the NHVR’s biennial safety survey, open now to stakeholders for the fourth time.

We know from our previous surveys in 2018, 2020 and 2022 – which had an incredible 5750 responses ¬- that while industry is largely safety-focused, there is always scope to explore new and innovative ways of delivering our safety strategy.

By capturing a baseline measurement of how safety responsibilities are being implemented across a variety of industry sectors, we can assess the effectiveness of the tools stakeholders have access to and – where necessary – make improvements.

Because what we learn through your participation in our safety survey will directly influence the work program of the NHVR.

We want to hear about your experiences both on and off the road, including the biggest challenges you are facing – so we can tackle them.

It’s because we believe safety is everyone’s responsibility and, tragically, people are still losing their lives on Australian roads in alarming numbers.

In 2023 there were 1270 fatalities on our roads, including 186 fatalities in crashes involving a heavy vehicle.

These are sobering numbers, which drive our relentless focus on improving safety for not just heavy vehicle drivers, but for the millions of Australians who drive on our roads each day.

Thankfully, we can increase our understanding of the changing or emerging risks being faced by the industry through tools like the safety survey.

This year, we are keen to understand heavy vehicle industry participants’ views of the NHVR’s Safety Management Systems guidance materials – including how aware they are of them, what is the level of uptake and how practical they are in informing the safety practices of those in the industry.

We also want to know how people prefer to receive their safety information from the NHVR, a crucial insight to ensure we are responding and adapting to the ever-changing ways of consuming information.

The safety survey will also provide valuable insight to help us measure the level of understanding of the Chain of Responsibility across the industry, while the rate of acceptance among our stakeholders of the current heavy vehicle safety technology is something we want to know more about too.

This year, the NHVR celebrates 10 years of enforcing the HVNL and safety, alongside productivity and efficiency, will continue to propel us forward over our next decade.

Part of our work in increasing safety on Australian roads has also involved educating other road users about the unique challenges of heavy vehicles, as demonstrated by our “Don’t Muck with a Truck” and “We All Need Space” campaigns.

The intertwining of informing, educating and enforcing action means we can deliver long-term behavioral change while still taking strong compliance action when there is a severe safety breach.

Crucially, our heavy vehicle participants must also have the right tools, support and insights to keep themselves – and those who they share the roads with – safe.

The safety survey is open until June 18 and can be accessed by clicking here.

David Hourigan is the NHVR’s chief safety and productivity officer.

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