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Call for motorists to use new ‘mega roadside rest areas’ to help save lives and fight fatigue this holiday season

Motorists, particularly those towing caravans, are being urged to be smart about how they share roadside rest stops with trucks this Christmas holiday season.

New statistics released today by Australia’s leading transport and logistics insurer, NTI, show 83% of fatigue-related accidents involving trucks in the lead up to Christmas last year happened between 10pm and 6am despite only one-sixth of the country’s freight being moved during those hours.

NTI’s General Manager Janelle Greene said over-crowding at rest areas was a major problem in managing fatigue at this time of year.

“Fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal and it is critical everyone has a safe place to ‘stop, revive, survive’,” Ms Greene said.

New ‘mega roadside rest areas’ have started opening alongside highways across the country providing separate areas for cars, caravans and trucks as well as providing toilets and undercover seating areas.

“We have identified 12 mega sites around Australia with some big enough to fit more than 20 semi-trailers and they’re designed so that the truck’s cabin faces away from headlights on the highway so drivers can get some quality sleep.”

Ms Greene said holidaymakers and motorists using old-style rest stops could help by parking to one side.

Truck driver Peter Caldow said: “If there is a caravan or cars that aren’t parked in the correct area it makes it a bit harder for us.”                                 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has just completed an eight day Operation Wake Up across Australia targeting fatigue.

More than 4000 trucks were stopped between the 2nd and the 9th of December at 80 locations.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the overwhelming majority (93.9%) of heavy vehicle drivers were doing the right thing when it came to fatigue management.

“Managing your fatigue is one of the most important things you can do as a heavy vehicle operator to keep yourself and other road users safe and it is a responsibility drivers take very seriously because like other road users they want to get home to their family safely too,” Mr Petroccitto said.

2018 Statistics:

  • During the Christmas period of 2018, driver fatigue was linked to 21 crashes.
  • 83% of accidents involving trucks happened between 10pm and 6am
  • Cost of accidents added up to more than a million dollars - $1,018,912.00

2017 Statistics:

  • During the Christmas period of 2017, driver fatigue was linked to 36 crashes. Three truck drivers died.
  • 50% of fatigue-related incidents happened between midnight and 6am, despite the fact that this time band makes up only 14% of truck traffic movements
  • Cost of accidents totaled more than $5.5million

Mega Rest Stop Locations:

  • Darwin – Manton Dam
  • Perth – Bindoon
  • Brisbane – Nudgee, Gatton, Colinton
  • Sydney – Partridge VC, Pheasants Nest, Cowan
  • Melbourne – Wandong Southbound, Wandong Northbound, Jock Comini Memorial Rest Area, Ravenswood