Industry News

NTI discusses tanker safety at TWAL Conference

Australian transport and logistics insurance specialist, NTI, delivered a well-received presentation on the dangers associated with dairy transportation at Transport Women Australia Limited’s (TWAL) Living the Dream Conference last week.

‘Spilt Milk: A National Crash Reduction Program for the Dairy Industry’, which is funded through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) and supported by the Australian Government, is a program dedicated to reducing the frequency of dairy tanker crashes through industry workshops and education.

It came about after the NTI’s annual National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) crash data identified that dairy tankers are 2.4 times more likely to be involved in a major crash than other freight transport – equivalent to one in 17 dairy tankers compared to one in 41 other heavy vehicles.

This is primarily due to the unique operating environments in bulk dairy collection such as challenging geography, winding country roads and travelling in regions with high rainfall.

The presentation at the Living the Dream Conference included footage NTI gathered in a recent experiment to demonstrate what happens in the inside of a dairy tanker combination when transporting milk through a series of conditions.

In NTI’s experiment, a driver ran through a series of exercises to show how they affect the product carried in the trailer.

The video combined the inside footage with outside aerial shots of the trailer to demonstrate what the driver was seeing and doing.

The first exercise involved hard braking on a side road in a controlled environment, and it showed the milk surging and crashing up against the front of the wall inside the trailer.

In the next exercise, the driver went around a roundabout in a continuous loop which saw the milk surging on one side of the tanker wall as the trailer went through an exit ramp.

The final test saw the driver run through a series of left, right, left turns on a road which showed the milk sloshing between 20 and 25 per cent higher in the tank and then sloshing back down again.

NTI Innovation & Strategy Consultant, Cara Walsh, who delivered the presentation, said the video allows the NTI to help drivers understand the risks in dairy transport.

“We were able to use that video to show the drivers that depending on how full your tank is, if it’s at a quarter it can actually be more dangerous than if it’s at, say, three quarters full,” she said.

An interesting point which Walsh made was the fact that a cow’s production of milk can vary by 10 per cent each day, meaning the conditions in carting dairy products are always different.

“That litre of milk can weigh differently depending on what the cow ate,” she said.

“So, every single day when a dairy tanker driver is showing up and doing pickups, the load in the back might be different than the day before. And that puts them in a really unique safety position.”

According to the NTI, a dairy tanker has unique engineering and physical attributes that make rollover indicators difficult for even experienced drivers to predict.

By the time the driver feels the trailer rolling, it claims, it is already too late.

Due to the various risks involved, Walsh said transport is the most dangerous job in Australia.

She therefore emphasised the importance of drivers being aware of all of the resources available, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

“When we did the ride-alongs with the dairy tanker drivers, a lot of them weren’t aware that they had ESC technology, they weren’t aware when it was turned on and they weren’t aware if it was working,” she said.

“Sometimes they viewed it as Big Brother watching. They didn’t understand that the technology was there to help them.

“It kicks in before a human person can get in a rollover, and so our message was when you need it, you need it.”

In other news, regulatory advice from the NHVR aims to improve safety, efficiency and sustainability for Australia’s ‘dynamic’ livestock industry.

The post NTI discusses tanker safety at TWAL Conference appeared first on Trailer Magazine.

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