Heavy vehicle driver fatalities: Learning's from fatal road crash investigations in Victoria Academic Article uri icon


  • This study describes the nature and extent of fatal heavy vehicle driver crashes in Victoria between 1999 and 2007 and the factors associated with the crash. A descriptive study was conducted comprising the population of heavy vehicle drivers killed in a road transport crash while operating a vehicle of > or =4.5 tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) for the purposes of work. Information about the nature of crash, environmental, driver, vehicle and occupational factors were collected from the coroner's death investigation file. Of the 91 deaths identified 61 were eligible for review. All 61 cases were male, solo drivers with a mean age of 44.7 years. Most vehicles were articulated in configuration. One-third of crash scenarios involved a single vehicle leaving the roadway on a straight road. One in every six fatally injured drivers was detected with the presence of stimulants or cannabis. Twenty-two drivers were travelling at excessive or inappropriate speeds for the circumstances. Seatbelt wearing status was documented for only 25 of 61 drivers. This study is the first to comprehensively examine a population of fatally injured heavy vehicle drivers using coroner's investigation files and these findings are consistent with previous, less detailed, Australian research. Information about potential associations between occupational factors and crash risk was limited. Improving driver safety requires incorporation of occupational factors into a standardised approach to heavy vehicle crash investigations.


publication date

  • May 2009