Review of truck safety - Stage 2: Update of crash statistics

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #205 - 2003

Authors:  N. Haworth & M. Symmons

Full report in .pdf format [400KB]


This report presents an updated statistical profile of the characteristics of heavy vehicle crashes in Victoria to provide a basis for estimating benefit:cost ratios (BCRs) for underrun protection. 

Significant limitations exist in the availability, scope and timeliness of truck crash data, particularly for rigid trucks. Comparisons between truck crashes in Victoria and nationally showed that the number of fatal crashes appears to have increased Australia-wide and in Victoria since 1997. Fatality rates for articulated and rigid trucks (both in terms of registered vehicles and in terms of distance travelled) are lower in Victoria than Australia-wide. Australia-wide and in Victoria, fatality rates are higher for articulated than rigid trucks. Otherwise, the characteristics of fatal truck crashes in Victoria and the rest of Australia are generally similar. 

From 1996-2000 in Victoria, about 40% of truck casualty crashes involved articulated trucks and 60% involved rigid trucks. Articulated truck crashes were more severe overall, and for truck occupants in particular. Car occupants were the largest group among those killed (64%) with 16% of those killed being truck occupants. Only 20% of crashes occurred at night but these crashes were generally more severe than daytime crashes. About three-quarters of the crashes occurred in metropolitan areas, although the proportion was lower for articulated than rigid truck crashes. The proportion of crashes resulting in death or serious injury increased with speed zone. For both articulated and rigid trucks, the largest number of fatal crashes involved vehicles travelling in opposing directions - 'head-on' crashes. Same direction crashes were the most common type of serious injury and other injury crash for both articulated and rigid trucks. 

For all of the underrun protection measures included, the BCRs were higher for articulated trucks than rigid trucks. A package of front, side and rear underrun had a BCR of greater than 1 for both articulated trucks and rigid trucks, whether a 17- or 25- year lifetime is assumed. Not surprisingly, the BCR was doubled if the package cost $500, compared to if the package cost $1,000. The BCRs also exceeded 1 for each type of underrun protection - front (at a cost of either $100 or $200), side or rear - for both articulated trucks and rigid trucks; again regardless of the lifetime. The BCRs were considerably larger for front underrun protection than for side underrun protection, with the lowest BCRs found for rear underrun protection.

Sponsoring organisation: VicRoads