NTI and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have released a report confirming operators who effectively maintain their vehicles are less likely to be involved in an incident.
Data from NTI’s NTARC Major Accident Investigation Report and the NHVR’s National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey was examined to create a new report which looks at the relationship between vehicle standards and safety performance.
Ten key areas were examined in the report, including brakes, couplings, steering and suspension, wheels and tyres, structure, seats, lights, mirrors, windscreens, and engine and driveline to determine there was a correlation between poor maintenance and increased claims frequency and cost.
HVIA’s National Policy and Government Relations Manager, Greg Forbes, observed that no-one will be surprised that there is a correlation between roadworthiness and heavy vehicle crashes.
“Everyone intuitively expected this. What I found most interesting is that the report found the defects with the highest correlation were faults in couplings, wheels and tyres,” Mr Forbes said.
“This suggests that industry is not paying enough attention to the maintenance of these items.
“Now that this report is out and has highlighted these issues, I think it puts pressure on operators to prove that they have adequate maintenance practices in these areas to discharge their Chain of Responsibility obligations.
“If I was an operator, I would be talking to my coupling, wheel and tyre providers to ensure my practices are up to scratch.”
Report author, NTI’s Transport & Logistics Risk Engineer Adam Gibson, said the link was particularly clear in two categories.
“There was a 29% increase in frequency and a 22% increase in the cost of claims for transport companies with poorly maintained couplings. For wheel and tyre defects, the frequency was 32% higher than the baseline while cost was 26% higher,” Mr Gibson said.
“It’s important to note this does not show crashes were caused by defects in those systems, but that operators with trucks in which couplings, wheels and tyres were not well maintained, were involved in a greater number of claims. The link is correlative, not causative.”
Mr Gibson said there was one category that yielded surprising results.
“There was only a 3% higher frequency and 4% higher cost compared to the baseline for operators who had vehicles with defects in their braking system. This is due to the way braking systems were tested back in 2016, and that process has now undergone a significant overhaul.”
NHVR Director Vehicle Safety and Performance Peter Austin said this report highlighted the importance of regular and effective maintenance regimes across the heavy vehicle fleet.
“Well maintained vehicles operating on our road network are essential to the safety of all road users,” Mr Austin said.
“The NHVR has a long-standing commitment to evidence-based enforcement, which is why we take a national, risk-based approach to checking whether heavy vehicles in the fleet are maintained.
“If we see a history of non-compliance, we intervene early and investigate further to prevent a potential accident from occurring.
“The report marks an important step forward, with the expertise and insights shared across the regulator and insurer providing opportunities to reduce fatalities on our roads.”
The new report comes just months after NTI was named a recipient of the NHVR’s 2020 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, a grant supported by the Federal Government.
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