Lane departure warnings may finally be mandated in trucks

The Australian Government has flagged its intention to introduce new regulations to mandate lane department warning systems in all new heavy vehicles, which will mean safer roads for all.

Australian law stipulates that all new road vehicles must satisfy national vehicle standards, formally referred to as ‘Australian Design Rules’ (ADR), before they can be sold in Australia. These ADRs are where important changes to vehicle safety technologies can be made.

In a recent regulation impact statement by the epartment of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC), an Australian Design Rule has been proposed that will require all new heavy vehicles to be fitted with LDWS technology as part of their design.

The proposed ADR, which has been under public consultation, will be a step towards better safeguarding other road users. In 2020, a total of 177 people were killed in crashes involving heavy trucks. The economic impact of road trauma specifically from heavy vehicles drifting outside their lane is around $63 million.

People riding bikes are also at risk around heavy vehicles. Data from the Australian Road Deaths Database reveals that, on average, 23 per cent of bike rider fatalities each year involve a heavy vehicle, a statistic that has not changed for 20 years. This alarming finding was raised in Bicycle Network’s 2020 fatality report.

Analysis in the regulation impact statement suggests that, if the proposed ADR is introduced, Australia will avoid 63 fatalities, 1,732 serious injuries and 5,389 minor injuries over the next 37 years.

Around 36 per cent of all new heavy vehicles are already fitted with LDWS in some form, but it is suggested in the report that a mandate will assist in ramping up the rate at which Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet is fully fitted with this critical technology.

The ADR rule will also provide an estimated net benefit of $17.3 million to Australia.

In proposing this new ADR, the Australian Government is looking to harmonise with the international standard for LDWS in heavy vehicles, UN Regulation No. 130 (R130).

Bicycle Network prepared a submission as part of the consultation process, which you can view here.

If approved, the proposed schedule for rolling out the new policy is:

  • 1 November 2024 for new model vehicles; and
  • 1 November 2026 for all new vehicles.

You can learn more about Bicycle Network's 'Safer Heavy Vehicles' campaign here.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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