Australian fatal truck crashes rise, NSW toll holds steady
POLICE have welcomed statistics showing a two-year drop in truck crash-related deaths in New South Wales.
There were 220 people killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles Australia-wide in 2014 - an increase of 34 deaths on 2013.
About 51% were killed in crashes involving articulated trucks such as semi-trailers, 39% died in heavy rigid truck accidents and 9% in buses.
Nationally, only 23 out of every 100,000 registered heavy rigid trucks were involved in fatal crashes last year.
The figure for buses was 17 out of every 100,000.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said NSW's figures, released by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport this week, were better than any other state in the country.
"We know that NSW is doing very well compared to the rest of Australia when it comes to heavy vehicle fatal crashes, even though a large proportion of heavy truck travel comes through our state," he said.
"While there was a national average annual decrease in fatalities from articulated trucks of 12.2% between 2012 and 2014 - there was actually a 20% average annual decrease in these fatalities in NSW over the same period."
NSW's heavy vehicle crash death toll held steady at 32 last year and in 2013 despite the upward country-wide surge.
It was an improvement on 50 deaths in 2012, and 47 in 2011.
"When you consider Census data which shows 676,250 heavy vehicles registered in Australia, which share the road with 16,957,243 other vehicles, many of which travel through NSW, the fatality reductions achieved are significant for not only road users, but also for the transport industry," Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.
Already 18 people have died in heavy vehicle crashes on the state's roads this year after less than five months, making the toll worse than the previous two years.
WHO DIES IN A HEAVY VEHICLE CRASH?
Drivers and passengers - 74.2%
Pedestrians - 13.9%
Motorcyclists - 8.1%
Cyclists - 3.1%
* Of the driver and passenger deaths, 73.8% are light vehicle occupants
* Between 1% and 3% of the fatal crashes involve a drink-driving heavy vehicle operator