Safety and NRL players to many may be mutually exclusive terms, but the NHVR has enlisted former rugby league star Sam Thaiday to partner with it to spread an important safety message as part of its ‘We All Need Space’ campaign.
The 304-game Broncos champion, known for his tough and uncompromising stance on the field, said it was important for motorists to show the same relentlessness when it comes to road safety.
“So many of us get behind the wheel of a car every day; to get to work, do school drop offs and for me, back in the day, head to training,” Sam said.
“But unfortunately, we often forget to stop and think more deeply about our behaviour behind the wheel.
“In rugby league, especially as a second rower, I always aimed to give my opponents as little space as possible and break down their defence.
“While the opposition may not need space on the field, trucks sure do on our roads!”
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP said it was vital more road users acknowledged the difference between driving a truck compared to a car.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s critical for motorists to understand trucks are extremely different to cars,” Minister Bailey said.
“Apart from the obvious – say an extra 35 tonnes for a semi-trailer – they are significantly more difficult to manoeuvre.
“For example, trucks have vastly different blind spots to cars, and driving too closely behind, alongside or in front of a truck, is extremely dangerous.
“In Queensland this year, we’ve seen heavy vehicles involved in around a fifth of the state’s fatal crashes, with 30 people sadly losing their lives in these accidents.
“That’s why it’s incredibly important for motorists to give trucks the space they need.”
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the regulator was committed to educating all motorists across the country, on how they can share the roads safely with heavy vehicles.
“As the heavy vehicle safety regulator, we work very closely with all truck operators and drivers to ensure their safety right across the heavy vehicle supply chain,” Mr Petroccitto said.
“The launch of our We All Need Space campaign is now about bringing all road users in on the conversation around what they can do to stay safe when out and about on Australian roads.
“Since it began in June, our We All Need Space campaign has already reached over four million people online, bolstered through our partnerships with influential talent across Australia.
“We’ve shared safety videos with Australian icons including comedian Jimmy Rees, popular truckies Yogi and CJ, and country music singer James Blundell.
“Now, having someone like Sam, who has transitioned from an NRL fan favourite to a wonderful community ambassador, come onboard to help us spread this important safety message is fantastic.
“With more than one million registered heavy vehicles across the country, it’s essential all road users understand how to drive safely around them.”
As part of his involvement in the campaign, Sam’s social media will feature safety videos on topics like being aware of truck blind spots, not overtaking a turning truck and leave trucks more space to brake.