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Truck Drivers Welcome Waikato Rest Breaks

28 November 2012

Truck Drivers Welcome Waikato Rest Breaks

Over 80 truck drivers travelling through the Waikato district took up the offer to 'take a break and drive safe' at truck education stops held at two locations this month. Drivers enjoyed a breakfast coffee and muffin and the chance to upskill on key road safety information specific to truck driving.

The roadside stops were a joint initiative by the Police, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), National Road Carriers, NZ Road Transport Association and Waikato District Council, who had staff on hand to chat to drivers about road safety and the importance of vehicle safety checks.

The stops were set up on State Highway 1 in Huntly on November 7 and on State Highway 2 at Maramarua on November 22, between 5.00 am and 8.00 am.

Waikato District Council road safety coordinator Megan Jolly said truck drivers appeared to have a good grasp of compliance requirements, with around three-quarters rating their knowledge as either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

“Many drivers said they appreciated the break and the chance to refresh their knowledge with staff from the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) and NZTA in an environment focused on education not enforcement,” Ms Jolly said.

Key focus areas of the stops included speed management, checking load safety and driver health. “Most drivers knew it was important for trucks to travel 10 km below any posted speed on curve advisory signs; however some thought they could go the same speed or 5 km slower. Of particular concern was a small number of drivers who thought they could travel safely at a higher than posted speed – so more education is needed around that,” Ms Jolly said.

Over a quarter of drivers said they had received no training from their employer. “This is a concern for us as we would like to see all drivers receive ongoing training,” Ms Jolly said.

Truck drivers talked about the challenges involved in managing speeds around changing road conditions; and other road users’ unsafe driving, particularly passing on double lines and blind corners. Fatigue was another common concern.

NZTA access and use manager David Pearks said the truck stops reinforce the Safe System approach to road safety, which is part of the Safer Journeys: New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010–2020. The Safe System approach recognises that people make mistakes and aims to reduce the impact on people when crashes happen. The approach features four key areas of focus - safe roads and roadsides, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe drivers. These last three were highlighted at the truck stops.

"The Safe System multi-pronged approach acknowledges that safety on our roads is greater than the sum of its parts - and that road safety partners and drivers have a shared responsibility around this. Initiatives such as these educational truck stops are all part of raising awareness on these issues," Mr Pearks said.


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