Fed up with the number of preventable crashes on Australian roads, including 1,188 road fatalities in 2019, female truck drivers are speaking out in a new campaign which aims to reduce risky behaviour.
NHVR Director Southern Region Paul Simionato said that Women in Trucking Australia Ltd (WiTA) - established by female heavy vehicle drivers to encourage and support more women into driving careers – was one of 24 organisations that received funding through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), supported by the Federal Government.
“The HVSI supports groups across the country to deliver programs that deliver tangible improvements to safety in the heavy vehicle industry,” Paul said.
“This new campaign is a powerful reminder that trucks need space to keep you safe and I commend WiTA on the work they are doing to make sure all road users get home safe.”
Chair of WiTA and roadtrain fuel tanker driver Natalie Kascak said that too many motorists continued to engage in high-risk driving behaviour around heavy vehicles.
“In their 2019 Major Accident Investigation Report, Australia’s National Truck Accident Research Centre reported that 83% of fatal, multi-vehicle crashes involving heavy vehicles were not the fault of the truck driver,” Natalie said.
“The campaign is made up of a series of short videos featuring female truck drivers and has been designed to show viewers the potentially dire consequences of poor on-road decision making around heavy vehicles.
“We wanted to do something radical to get motorists thinking really seriously about their behaviour and we believe this confronting campaign will do just that.”
WiTA CEO Lyndal Denny said she believes enlisting female truckies will make viewers sit up and take notice, while showing another side to an industry which is often seen as male-dominated.
“Heavy vehicle drivers have much to contribute to the national road safety conversation through believe our collective, lived on-road experience,” Lyndal said.
“We hope that the realities presented in this unique and confronting campaign will encourage people to think about the consequences of risky behaviour around heavy vehicles.
“It’s hoped findings and recommendations from the campaign will contribute to opening the dialogue on how the sector can continue to create workable solutions to make Australian roads safer in addition to helping inform future policy.”
The campaign was officially launched on January 18, as part of the organisation’s official launch, with speakers including current NSW Road Freight Industry Transport Woman of the Year – ‘Deaf Trucker Girl’ Candice Lureman. Candice is Australia’s only profoundly deaf female roadtrain driver and the only deaf woman world-wide to have driven triple road trains.
“Candice’s presentation about her career journey, from driving overseas and in Australia to the challenges she has overcome is an inspiration to all women seeking a career in the heavy vehicle industry,” Paul said.
About the stars of the campaign
Women in Trucking CEO Lyndal Denny's passion for road safety began in 2007 after she survived a third terrifying encounter in her car at the hands of an aggressive B-Double driver on the Pacific Highway. Determined to take a look behind the iron curtain, Lyndal completed her heavy vehicle driver training and left her home on the East Coast to drive road trains in the dust and heat of the mining boom.
WiTA Vice Chair Kelly Coates completed her Cert IV in Heavy Vehicle Driver Operations in December as part of an innovative 12-month driver training partnership between QUBE Logistics - Adelaide and Allan Miller Driving School. After a lengthy career in retail and hospitality, Kelly’s adventures have just begun having achieved her lifelong dream to drive the big rigs.
WiTA Board Chair, MC licensed driver and Paramedic - Natalie Kascak is just one of two female roadtrain fuel-tanker drivers in South Australia. Across a twelve-year trucking career, Nat has Across a twelve-year trucking career, Nat has amassed an impressive body of work including touring Australia transporting V8 Supercars in her specially modified rig.
Photography by Heather Petty