Virtual safety simulator to help SA heavy vehicle drivers

Thursday, 05 November, 2020

Virtual safety simulator to help SA heavy vehicle drivers

A state-of-the-art training simulator has been designed to improve road safety in South Australia, by enabling heavy vehicle operators to drive trucks down the South Eastern Freeway. The simulator is designed to help existing and learner heavy vehicle drivers navigate the South Eastern Freeway descent, with a focus on improving safety behind the wheel.

The Australian and South Australian Governments partnered with South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) to buy the HVSim and software package, worth $450,000. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said truck drivers will undergo training and assessments in the simulator, with scope for expanding the program to cover other high-risk routes in South Australia and across the country.

“The Australian Government takes road safety seriously because no family should have to endure the devastation caused by road crashes. That is why we continue investing in critical initiatives to improve road safety to save lives and reduce road trauma, including across our heavy vehicle sector,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (HVNR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative 2020 Grant program allocated $350,000 for the technology, while the South Australian Government contributed a further $100,000 for the simulator.

South Australian Minister for Police, Emergency Services, Correctional Services and Road Safety Vincent Tarzia said the simulator is a safe way for heavy vehicle operators of all experience levels to learn their descent skills.

“About 660,000 heavy vehicles descend from Crafers to Glen Osmond per annum. In recent years, tragic incidents have occurred at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway. This technology can help prevent further lives lost on our roads,” Minister Tarzia said.

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said keeping safety front of mind for road users was key to supporting the National Road Safety Strategy agreed by all governments.

“Every one of us has a vital role to play in promoting road safety, particularly when it comes to our heavy vehicles, with many of the initiatives led by and created for industry groups and communities,” Senator Ruston said.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the HVSI has supported 26 projects from across Australia to contribute to improving road safety through innovative, value-for-money ideas.

“The outcomes from this initiative will contribute to improved safety and sustainability of the road transport industry both in South Australia and across the country,” Petroccitto said.

SARTA President Sharon Middleton AM said the HVSim will enable the organisation to train heavy vehicle drivers in defensive driving, avoiding rollovers on sharp bends and improving skills in areas such as reversing trucks with multiple trailers.

“SARTA will also use the simulator in work with academic institutions to undertake research in critical areas such as fatigue management. SARTA and our industry have always been committed to safety, for all road users as well as our HV drivers, and this exciting project will play a key role in advancing that objective,” Middleton said.

The simulator also has potential to assist research into driver behaviours. The Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) will have access to the simulator to conduct testing on proposed road designs.

 Image credit: © Paire

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