It's time for alternatives to killer trucks, says safety campaigner

The government must begin promoting alternatives to carrying freight by road, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

“Horrific accidents between trucks and cars are now a regular occurrence, especially in high traffic areas such as the Bay of Plenty.”’

“Any system that allows heavy trucks to share the road with ordinary motorists on a regular basis is certain to kill multiple people.”

“Even more shocking, the government stubbornly refuses to install median barriers in many of the highest risk areas, because median barriers will tend to slow down trucks. This is totally unacceptable.”

“There are simple, practical and affordable alternatives to many road freight trips. For example, the Waingawa rail hub, opened by Transport Minister Simon Bridges on Monday, will carry 700 tonnes of logs to Wellington every day by rail. Previously, these logs were carried over the  Rimutaka pass and clogged the Hutt motorway.”

This rail network has been shipping logs from just south of Masterton since 2012. This has led to a reduction of 16,000 truck and trailer trips per year.

Matthew-Wilson says this policy of supporting alternatives to road freight should be extended all over the country, but especially in high risk areas.

“Trucks make up just 2.5% of the vehicle fleet, yet in 2015, 58 people died in accidents involving trucks. This was close to 20% of all 2015 road deaths."

Matthew-Wilson says its nonsense to suggest that rail is uneconomic.

The government’s own studies show that rail freight is at least twice as efficient as road freight. Moving freight by sea is many times more efficient than trucks. The only reason that trucking companies prosper is because they don’t pay the true costs of the roads they travel down.”

Matthew-Wilson says New Zealand needs to adopt a Swedish-style transport system, where safety comes first.

The percentage of the road toll involving trucks has nearly doubled since 1980. Yet the government is now proposing even larger trucks. This is madness.”