The recorded number of road rage incidents in Australia is quite alarming. Yahoo Australia says that 9 out of 10 drivers have been involved in some form of road rage, which range from verbal abuse to recklessly chasing drivers on the road. In this post we look at the measures being put in place to prevent road rage, and how a new logging mandate for commercial vehicles in the U.S. could be applied here to reduce overdriving and stress.
Preventing road rage
Local authorities are launching awareness campaigns in order to reduce the cases of road rage incidents in the country. One of the most notable campaigns is the VicRoads efforts to reduce road rage by launching a "warm and fuzzy" campaign called "Travel Happy – Share the Road" in Victoria. It was designed to improve the mood, and reduce the level of aggression from both pedestrians and road users by encouraging the public to look out for each other.
“There’s nothing quite like the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you help out a fellow human being – or they help you out," said Konrad Spilva, the Managing Director of Isobar -- one of the companies involved in creating the campaign. "We wanted to capture that sentiment to encourage Victorians to help everyone get from A to B in a safer, happier way."
“Unhappy road users are more likely to be aggressive and lack compassion for others," said James Holgate, VicRoads' Director of Vehicle and Road Use Policy. "This can lead to frustration and anger which can lead to risky behaviour. Travel Happy – Share the Road encourages motorists, cyclists, motorcyclists, truck drivers and pedestrians to look out for each other on the roads to make travelling happier, more courteous and safer for everyone.”
Road rage involving trucks
Road rage commonly occurs when the drivers are stressed or tired. Commercial drivers often have to work long hours and spend extended periods of time on the road. While there is no data documenting how many truck drivers are involved in accidents due to road rage, there have been reported news stories of road rage incidents involving truck drivers such as this one on News.com.au.
Commercial vehicles overdriving is a serious problem in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald reported in their feature on truck safety that while long-haul drivers are required by law to record driving hours “there are grey areas”. Truck drivers were also found to be working extra hours that weren’t being logged, despite companies being able to track their trucks via GPS.
In the U.S. the issue of driving past the legal Hours of Service (HoS) has been resolved through a new mandate called the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Final Rule. Fleetmatics state that the rule was created by the U.S.' Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as part of an initiative to improve road safety by keeping all service trucks compliant to certain regulations. For one, the law mandates that all drivers operate only within their allotted time frame. Drivers will no longer be able to log their journeys, as the ruling requires that commercial vehicles install a device that automatically tracks distances and time. Trucks will be monitored in real time so that fleet managers can alert drivers if they're about to commit a violation.
The ELD Final Law will take in effect in December 2017, and it is hoped that it will lessen truck-related incidents caused by overdriving. Australia should implement something similar given the alarming rate of the country's road rage incidents.
Remember to keep your cool on the road. Road rage incidents can be easily avoided with effort from all road users. Road safety will only increase if everyone has the resolve to stay courteous and calm on the road.
Exclusively Written for Johns Driving School