Company vehicle crash causes investigated

Drivers are 50% more likely to crash in a company vehicle than in a private vehicle, according to new research funded partly by the insurance industry.

Zurich has teamed with the University of NSW’s Lori Mooren to investigate the characteristics that distinguish trucking companies with good safety records with those that perform poorly.

“Heavy vehicle fatalities have decreased by 32% over the past decade,” she says.

“The trucking industry is one where employers do know that there are serious risks to their employees, to their cargo and to their business in using the road. They have been a lot more proactive than most employers in managing risks of using the road.”

However, road safety remains a pressing issue in the industry, with trucker pay systems still often contributing to fatigue and speed issues.

“I’ve spoken to drivers who say they start at 6pm and then they wait for sometimes up to four hours for their trucks to be loaded, which means that when they start driving, they’re already not fresh when setting out to drive all night.” Mooren says.

“A lot of the industry is still being paid on a piecemeal basis, and that can be per kilometre or per truckload. This encourages drivers to work longer hours and do more shifts.

“When drivers get paid a regular wage per hour, day or week, they are less encouraged to work excessive hours.”

Mooren’s research has also mapped out how strongly the safety culture of a particular business affects crash rates.

“You can measure things like the perception that workers have that their bosses are committed to workplace safety above other objectives,” he says.

“It’s a demonstration of clear commitment and a sense ‘safely is the way we do things around here’. When you have that culture of safety, then crash rates are likely to be lower.”