Driver safety initiative for the dairy industry


Monday, 11 December, 2023

Driver safety initiative for the dairy industry

An Australian road safety initiative designed to reduce dairy tanker rollovers has been delivered, with a catalogue of multimedia training resources now complete.

Following research which revealed that dairy tankers were 2.4 times more likely to be involved in a major crash than other freight-carrying heavy vehicles, the initiative was developed by Australian transport and logistics insurance specialist NTI and partially funded through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the Australian Government.

Training resources for dairy carriers and drivers are now available, featuring a report, videos and training modules.

Chris Hogarty (pictured), NTI’s Executive General Manager – Strategy & Supply Chain, said the resources were the culmination of nearly two years working with key stakeholders in the Australian dairy supply chain and targeted research.

“Dairy tanker rollovers not only endanger the lives of drivers but can also lead to negative environmental impacts that, because of the specific challenges of cleaning and contamination, can be more detrimental than oil spills,” Hogarty said.

The research involved developing an understanding of the unique conditions that made dairy tankers more susceptible to tipping, such as load volume, road conditions and tanker dynamics. To do so, researchers filmed milk inside a tanker as it was being driven and built a see-through model truck, allowing researchers to understand how the milk moves and how shifting weight impacts stability.

“We’re thankful for the wide industry involvement in this project — dairy companies, equipment manufacturers and transport operators have all worked with us to identify key areas that needed addressing. The resource pack will help fill those gaps and is designed to be integrated into already-existing driver training,” Hogarty said.

In support of the initiative, the 2023 National Accident Research Centre (NTARC) report, produced by NTI, focused solely on dairy tankers, with data from 2019–2022 showing the leading cause of single vehicle rollovers was speed.

“It’s important to note when we talk about speed in this regard, it does not mean ‘breaking the speed limit’ — even at low speed, as we now know, milk tankers can roll,” Hogarty said.

“Speed represented almost a third (32%) of all major incidents for dairy tank rollovers in that time, compared to 13% of regular freight. Our research showed, in a high proportion of major incidents (16%), dairy tanker drivers were ‘not at fault’. That’s compared to 12% of crashes involving other freight vehicles.”

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto OAM said the initiative is helping address a safety gap in the transport and logistics sector.

“Funded through our HVSI program, this innovative safety initiative is ultimately helping to reduce road trauma and save lives,” Petroccitto said.

“With dairy tankers significantly more likely to be involved in a major crash in comparison to any other freight-carrying heavy vehicle, it is critical we invest in projects, like this, to improve safety on our roads.”

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