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NTARC Truck Accident Report 2020

Published: 20/05/2020
National Truck Accident Research Centre
Truck Accident Report for 2020

The 2020 National Truck Accident Research Centre’s major accident report was released yesterday, May 20,2020. This was the ninth report in this biennial series. The report is a compilation extracted from NTI’s electronic datasets. The report is circulated to Industry, Government, State Transport agencies, manufacturers, and OH&S regulatory bodies.

Major Findings:

The 2019 period saw a mixture of good and bad news from a predominantly ‘hire and reward’ insured segment of the trucking industry.

  • Driver deaths increased by a factor of 2.5 compared to the 2017 report findings. Owner drivers were over represented this year. Their vehicles represented 15% of the insured portfolio but represented 21% of the driver deaths.
  • Of the truck driver deaths 75% were because of fatigue and inattention or distraction.
  • 68% of drivers were killed in the period 6am to 6pm, however, given the much lower level of traffic there is a much greater chance of a fatal occurring in the midnight to 6am period.
  • Overall major fatigue related accidents dropped to an historic low level of 9.6% of claims.
  • Rigid trucks , not towing trailers, accounted for 19.8% of fatigue related accidents which was certainly an unexpectedly high figure for this class of vehicle.
  • At Fault driver error, through inattention/distraction jumped from 29% to 39% in 2019. 37% of this accident class lay with drivers over the age of 51.
  • Non Impact truck fires accounted for 10% of major insurance losses. This alone is a stunning figure as the public never usually hears about fires except in crashes.
  • Major incident claims for mechanical failures was some 4% of total major claims. This puts into perspective the true size of mechanical failures, especially after very large and expensive national road side surveys failed to prove a much higher perceived figure. Over half of these mechanical failures were actually due specifically to steer tyre failure.
  • Some 68% of major incidents have occurred on outbound trips. This often seems surprising as freight rates are often higher on ‘prime leg’ directions. Backhaul trips, where drivers may be doing two-up on very long distance runs, where you would expect them to be potentially very tired, sees only 32% of major truck crashes. (Perhaps they are better rested doing backhauls.)
  • 30% of major accidents carry general freight as the described commodity.
  • Despite the very significant construction tasks happening in our larger cities, major rigid tip truck claims jumped only marginally from 10% to 11% in 2019.


This report makes great reading with many learnings for a wide ranging audience including policy makers. The entire series has been a credit to NTI’s NTARC analysis group, now led by Adam Gibson, who took over the reins from Owen Driscoll two years ago, and to NTI itself for resourcing such a nationally important task.

Read more........

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