An extension to the NSW Government’s Quad Bike Safety Campaign subsidy scheme by NSW Minister Matt Kean last week is seen as further compounding an issue which the industry believes is far better addressed through encouraging known safety practices, not unproven methods.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which represents the ATV industry, has been critical of the subsidy scheme because it uses a financial incentive to skew support behind so-called safety devices of unproven efficacy.
“While the FCAI is supportive of measures which encourage the known ATV safety practices such as wearing helmets, it is perplexing as to why the NSW government would subsidise Crush Protection Devices (CPDs), particularly when a Quad Bike User Survey that Safe Work (SW) NSW funded, showed that these devices demonstrated no positive injury outcome in the workplace.
“In fact, the results of this University of NSW survey of workplaces using ATVs (with and without CPDS) were that, overall, current aftermarket CPDs resulted in a nonstatistically significant increase in serious injuries.
“SW NSW also appears to be ignoring the findings of three coronial inquests in QLD, NSW and Tasmania in 2015 and 2016. After hearing considerable expert evidence on the efficacy of CPDs, none of the coroners recommended fitment of CPDs.
“The FCAI see this as dangerous for several reasons including users may think they are fitting a safety device.’’
- ATV users will unwittingly believe they are fitting a safety device (CPD), and therefore expect a safety improvement which will not be forthcoming; they may also abandon the most effective safety device on ATVs which is wearing a helmet by incorrectly believing that the CPD is effective; and
- Secondly, by fixating on engineering measures like CPDs, government safety agencies are avoiding following up on what are considered the most effective safety measures as identified by the coronial inquests and international data, namely:
o Mandatory helmets
o No children under 16 years of age on adult size ATVs
o No passengers on single seat ATVs
“Coronial data and the international experience indicates these three measures can improve safety outcomes by over 50 per cent.”