Virtual reality education key to improving South Eastern Freeway safety

Tuesday 30 August, 2022

The Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to rollout additional state-of-the-art heavy vehicle simulators (HVSim) to better educate truck drivers about the dangers of the South Eastern Freeway descent.

In 2020, the former Liberal Government partnered with the Federal Government and South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) to buy the HVSim and software package worth $450,000.

The cutting-edge HVSim was the first of its kind in the country and has helped existing and learner heavy vehicle drivers experience the descent on the South Eastern Freeway in a safe environment.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vincent Tarzia said additional HVSims should be purchased to boost the skills of truck drivers.

“We should be moving more truck drivers through HVSim training with a focus on the tricky South Eastern Freeway descent so they can learn in an environment where it’s safe to make a mistake,” Mr Tarzia said.

“We want our truck drivers descending the South Eastern Freeway with every confidence they can handle the task safely.

“If Labor makes the right choice to prioritise saving lives on the South Eastern Freeway over saving drivers a few minutes on the Southern Expressway, multiple HVSims could be purchased.

“That’s why it’s so important to shelve the unnecessary $120 million Southern Expressway on/off ramp at Majors Road.

“If that money is diverted to the South Eastern Freeway, we could have a third arrester bed, multiple HVSims and more than $50 million would be left over to invest in other safety initiatives. We know a multi-pronged approach is needed to help save lives on this dangerous stretch of road.”

The former Liberal Government invested huge amounts in the South Eastern Freeway by adding a third lane and securing a $75 million upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels including improvements to the traffic management system and lighting.

David Pisoni, Member for Unley, and Member for Bragg, Jack Batty, said the Malinauskas Labor Government is dragging its heels on completing the Greater Adelaide Freight Bypass Planning Study.

The study is investigating the construction of upgraded freight routes to enable trucks to be diverted from the South Eastern Freeway to bypass Adelaide.

“We can instantly make the South Eastern Freeway safer for all motorists if we are diverting trucks along another dedicated route that doesn’t have a potentially deadly descent,” Mr Pisoni said.

Mr Batty said: “We cannot afford to keep waiting on this study.”

“We shouldn’t be in a situation where, like we have on Portrush Road, cars are driving alongside B-Doubles through areas populated with houses, shops and schools. Our local roads aren’t meant to be freight routes,” he said.