Don’t #uck with a truck

The last few months have been incredibly busy for the heavy vehicle industry, as our drivers delivered essential goods across the country ready for the holiday season.

While we know road users are focused on safety during this peak period, sadly there were a still number of crashes involving heavy vehicles that could have been avoided. There are close to half a million heavy vehicles—and over 14 million passenger vehicles—sharing our roads at any given time, which can lead to serious crashes involving both parties.

What’s more, we know the light vehicle is at fault in close to eight out of ten fatal crashes involving both cars and trucks in Australia.

Educating and changing the behaviour of the way light vehicle drivers behave around trucks is a major focus for the NHVR. This year, we are proud to undertake a campaign targeted at young drivers, particularly Learner (L) and Provisional (P) licence holders, called ‘Don’t #uck With A Truck’.

It’s a departure from any campaign we’ve done before, and the bold message is designed to cut through to young drivers and stick with them when they are on the road.

The dangers when young drivers meet trucks on our roads are very real. L plate drivers are only required to complete around 100 hours before getting behind the wheel unsupervised.

For this campaign, we quizzed L and P platers on what they knew about driving safely around trucks – with a focus on three key safety messages:

• Leave two lanes free for trucks when turning

• Pulling in front of a truck can cause a crash

• Patience is critical when overtaking a truck From what we’ve learned, they have little knowledge or understanding of the road rules or requirements when it came to driving around trucks.

Overwhelmingly, they are focused on the perceived danger a truck presents to them and did not have awareness of the hazards they pose to trucks and other road users from their own driving behaviour.

They also had limited understanding of a truck’s limitations in terms of visibility, manoeuvrability, and response times.

To change their perceptions, we gave the L and P platers the opportunity to see what it felt like to be a passenger in a single tautliner truck.

Here they received firsthand experience of the daily challenges truck drivers face when cars drive up the inside lane of a turning truck or pull in front of a truck. The design of our Don’t #uck With A Truck logo takes inspiration from the ‘Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle’ sign displayed prominently on the back of heavy vehicles.

When we asked the L and P platers what this sign meant we were met with vacant expressions and silence.

This reaction cements the need for greater awareness of road safety for young drivers and trucks, which is why the Don’t #uck With A Truck message is so vital. Over the coming months, the campaign will reach young drivers online including Instagram, TikTok Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and across billboards and university pop-ups.

We will also have a microsite, which will host the campaign videos and safety messages.

You can visit our website to learn more about the Don’t #uck With A Truck campaign.

I encourage you to share the important message with your network and join us in supporting a campaign designed to help keep you, your colleagues and your family safe.

This national campaign is a priority outlined in the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy 2021 – 25, and annual Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy Action Plan.

Through this national campaign, we hope to drive positive change by influencing road users’ behaviour and promote greater road safety awareness.

The campaign supports our ‘We Need Space’ campaign, launched in partnership with Coles, Linfox and Toll which helps educate light vehicle drivers on the importance of sharing the road safely with heavy vehicles.

Sal Petroccitto

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