JCU Associate Professor Richard Franklin said while Australian accident data is patchy and incomplete, over about a decade there were at least 577 crashes involving agricultural vehicles and trailers, resulting in 24 fatalities and 278 injuries. These figures illustrate that agricultural vehicle presence on roads may raise a unique set of safety concerns.
He said JCU’s new research is being funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and The National Farmers’ Federation in an effort to fill the information void.
“We’re going to explore the nature of incidents that involve large, slow-moving agricultural vehicles, we’ll also be looking at people’s attitudes and awareness to them and what they think about road sharing and road safety,” said Dr Franklin.
He said previous studies had suggested the most common crash types of large agricultural vehicles involved them running off the road, being rear ended, or hit during overtaking maneuvers.
“It’s not clear why this is. While the length and width of a large vehicle may be a factor in them being hit as they are being overtaken, speed differentials may have been a factor, particularly in the rear end crashes,” he said.
Dr Franklin said it was likely the future would see even larger agricultural vehicles on roads, driven by the need for greater efficiency and productivity.
“Our overall aim is to improve the safety of all road users,” he said.
The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous. This survey will remain open until the 15th April 2018.