Big rig drivers talk road safety with kids


Local forestry companies, log transport operators and ACC have teamed up to deliver a safety programme to 36 Waikato and Bay of Plenty rural schools in coming months.


Called ‘Share the road’, the programme involves log truck drivers visiting schools to give children a tour of their big rig and teach them about staying safe on rural roads. Transport companies are donating their drivers’ time and providing prizes for competitions in the schools.

The aim of the programme is to educate children on how they can improve their safety around heavy vehicles, and through them to filter the safety messages to their parents and family.

“Success will be having kids say ‘Dad, you are too close, if we can’t see the mirrors then the truck driver can’t see us”, says Peter Musk, ACC Relationship Manager Workplace.

Programme coordinator Bruce Nairn says the programme encourages kids to make sure they can be easily seen if walking or riding along the rural roads, and to know how to avoid being in the trucks’ blind spots.

“We want them to be aware of trucks’ blind spots, braking times and wearing bright visible colours. This will help reduce the chance of there being a crash if truck drivers or, other road users for that matter, make a mistake,” he said.

The programme has run successfully in local schools in the Northland area, and with ACC’s support is now being delivered in Waikato and Bay of Plenty by the local forestry community.

NZ Transport Agency Freight Portfolio Director Harry Wilson applauded the programme and praised industry for taking the initiative to improve road safety.

“It’s important children learn about the potential risks that trucks can represent and how they can reduce these risks to improve their safety on our roads”, he says.

Mr Wilson said the Transport Agency is also working to reduce the risk of trucks themselves; by reducing the number of truck trips needed to move New Zealand’s road freight and encouraging industry to invest in newer trucks with more advanced safety features.

“One of the reasons we are trying to move more freight on fewer trucks with high productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs) is to improve the safety of road freight movements. Most HPMVs are newer trucks and they must have more advanced safety features than the standard 44 tonne trucks they are replacing. HPMVs have increased resistance to roll over and the inclusion of electronic braking systems. These features are additional to the safety benefits of reducing the truck trips needed to move the same amount of freight - fewer truck trips mean a lower crash risk,” he said.