Australian country music star, James Blundell, knows what it’s like to spend hours at a time on the road.
“After touring for the past 35 years, I’ve clocked thousands of kilometres travelling right across the country,” said the singer.
“Along the way, I’ve witnessed and experienced my fair share of close calls, driving through both major cities and remote areas.”
With the help of his guitar, Blundell has teamed up with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for its We All Need Space road safety campaign.
The country star, who also runs a hemp farm in Queensland’s south-west, has urged drivers to be safer around heavy vehicles.
“Whether you’re a truckie, car driver or a touring artist like me, we all share the road and we all set out to get to our destination safely,” Blundell said.
More than thirty years on from releasing the original song, Blundell has put a creative new spin on his smash hit ‘Way Out West’.
New lyrics for the catchy tune emphasise the importance of giving trucks the space they need, so all drivers can share the road safely.
“Way Out West holds a special place in my heart, and over the years it’s become an Australian country classic,” he said.
“I’m proud to put a new spin on the song, helping motorists understand a truly important message.”
When he’s not on the road or in a recording studio, Blundell works on the same farm he grew up on, in Stanthorpe.
“I relate to this campaign in more ways than one,” he said.
“Having had my Heavy Vehicle Rigid licence since I was 19 years old, it’s safe to say I know my way around trucks and heavy machinery.
“Way out west in regional Queensland, you see hundreds of road trains on the roads.
“When a motorist is unaware of their surroundings, or doesn’t know how to share the road, things can go devastatingly wrong.
“It’s crucial to keep your cool and give truck drivers space.”
NHVR Executive Director Michelle Tayler said the number of fatal crashes involving a heavy vehicle was significantly higher in regional areas compared to metropolitan areas.
“Across Australia this year, there’s already been 53 fatal crashes involving a heavy vehicle in regional areas, compared to 20 in metropolitan areas,” Ms Tayler said.
“These figures clearly tell us that we need to do more to get the message out there across all parts of the country to help save lives on our roads.
“It’s critical to give trucks the space they need, particularly on long, rural roads.
Ms Tayler said the NHVR was committed to educating road users to be more cautious, with the new Way Out West lyrics sharing a catchy but important message.
“We are always looking for new ways to educate drivers, and so the NHVR is extremely excited to welcome James to the campaign,” she said.
“By combining his farming knowledge and musical talent, James is helping spread the word on heavy vehicle safety – so all road users can make it home to their loved ones.”