Friday, April 26, 2024

No stopping Parkes load restraint project

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils’ ‘Load Restraint Education Project’ has been heralded a success, meeting two objectives set by the Councils.

Project Coordinator and the Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor said the project aimed to increase awareness of load restraint fundamentals and decrease the number of load restraint incidents and breaches occurring on local roads.

“The results of the project show that load restraint awareness amongst the target group – farmers and transport companies – did improve over the course of the project and we have seen load restraint breaches decrease 69% this year, with no incidents occurring,” she said.

“These are amazing results and I’d like to thank everyone that was involved in the project for ensuring it was a success – it really was a team effort.”

The project was funded by the Commonwealth Government through the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) and was supported by NSW Police, NSW Farmers and Transport for NSW, with assistance from NSW Rural Fire Service, SafeWork NSW and NSW Health’s Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.

NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto said the project demonstrated the benefits of the HVSI, where initiatives are driven by industry, for industry.

“Managing loading requirements is a key safety focus for the NHVR and industry,” he said.

“The NHVR is proud to support this community-oriented project that will help improve the safety of heavy vehicle drivers and all road users.”

The project focused on the safe transportation of hay bales, machinery and general freight, to cover the majority of load types in the region.

Strategies included a pre and post online awareness quiz; the development of how-to videos and accompanying fact sheets; promoting case studies; social media; a Load Restraint Village Tour (visiting 12 local villages across the three shires) and the distribution of load restraint packs.

Project results include:

  • more than 100 farmers attended the Load Restraint Village Tour and all provided positive feedback about the program;
  • the how-to videos have had more than 1,000 views;
  • 1,100 additional load restraint packs have been distributed to the local community;
  • 311,740 people were reached through social media posts and there were 5,070 engagements – this is across five Facebook pages;
  • small increases in awareness were recorded for two of the online quiz questions (most appropriate lashing to use to tie down a tractor and what to do if you notice your load of hay has shifted during the trip);
  • Police enforcement figures up to August 2021, show that local load restraint breaches have decreased 69% on the 2020 figures and 54% based on the 2019 figures, with no load restraint incidents recorded thus far in 2021.

“The Load Restraint Education Project has been one of the best experiences I’ve been involved in during my 20 years in road safety.”

“The project addressed a local issue of concern, developed high quality collateral, saw grass roots community engagement resulting in increased awareness and decreased load restraint breaches,” Ms Suitor said.

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