Supermarket giant Coles and its supply chain partners have joined forces with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) on the We Need Space campaign.
The campaign is aimed at educating road users about how to share the road safely with heavy vehicles.
Coles trailers carried by Linfox and Toll will become giant, travelling billboards in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, urging road users to stay out of truck blind spots, learn how to overtake trucks safely, and avoid overtaking turning trucks.
The NHVR has produced a series of Community Service Announcements fronted by Supercars Champion Garth Tander and will be rolling out educational resources through driver education programs and its state and territory transport authority partners.
Coles Chief Legal and Safety Officer David Brewster said Coles was committed to improving safety through the transport supply chain.
“Our transport operators travel approximately 100 million kilometres each year, delivering goods via our Distribution Centres to more than 800 supermarkets across the country,” he said.
“Last year our robust supply chain was put under pressure like never before, as Coles stepped up to become an essential service and continue to help feeding Australians through the pandemic,” said Brewster.
“We want to educate and work with road users to avoid potential incidents, so that the drivers carrying loads for Coles and the communities through which they travel can all stay safe.”
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said that in many instances of multi-vehicle crashes, it was not the heavy vehicle driver at fault.
“Heavy vehicle drivers are proud of their safe driving, it is what they do each and every day – a proud profession – but we know some motorists might feel a little intimidated by sharing the road with them,” he said.
“It is important all road users recognise that trucks can be difficult to manoeuvre, have large blind spots and regularly have to navigate unpredictable traffic.”
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto welcomed the partnership with Coles and said We Need Space was a great example of the regulator, business and government working together in the interest of road safety.
“We’re excited that Coles has chosen to partner with us in our We Need Space campaign to help give Australia’s truck drivers the space they need to keep us safe, and we thank Toll and Linfox for coming on board too,” Petroccitto said.
“It’s also great that respected Supercars Champion Garth Tander is continuing to support the campaign by helping us deliver these important safety messages.
“Garth has been an invaluable We Need Space ambassador, helping spread the word that, unlike a racing car driver, it’s not all about getting to the front and staying there.”
Senator Glenn Sterle, Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Chair of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee has praised Coles and the NHVR for developing the national road safety initiative.
“This campaign will highlight to other road users the importance of giving trucks the space they require to safely navigate our roads and highways as they deliver everyday essential items to market and homes,” he said.
“Road safety affects us all and it is terrific to see such commitment to safety and the promotion of better standards and awareness being championed at a national level.”
The second phase of We Need Space was launched this morning at the Victorian Transport Association’s headquarters at Webb Dock, Port Melbourne.
Speaking at the event VTA CEO Peter Anderson praised Coles for its significant investment in driver education by partnering with industry.
“On behalf of Victorian transport operators we congratulate them for their proactive approach to improving road safety,” he said.
“The campaign also demonstrates the value Coles places on the heavy vehicle drivers that work hard every day to ensure supermarket shelves are stocked and that consumers have regular and unimpeded access to food and grocery items they enjoy. We Need Space is a campaign every operator should endorse and sincere thanks to everyone involved in bringing it to life,” Anderson said.
Coles is committed to lifting standards on road safety in Australia.
Last year it signed a charter with the Transport Workers Union on standards in road transport and the gig economy focusing on safety, driver education and mental health.
Coles and the NHVR also partner with Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds, a collaboration between road transport, warehousing and logistics operators to support drivers and logistics workers tackling mental health and wellbeing issues.