A coalition of Rail unions, transport and motoring groups in Australia has urged the federal and state governments to ban the long-distance transport of dangerous goods on the road.

The coalition has demanded that each state and territory introduce a uniform change in their Dangerous Goods Act that would require hazardous materials such as petrol and other chemicals to be transported to and from the nearest available rail hub.

The call for the ban, led by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, follows a number of fatal accidents over Christmas and the new year holiday period involving trucks.

The union’s national organiser Bob Nanva said a ban would help minimise truck and car collisions.

“Putting hundreds of extra long-haul trucks on our roads with mums, dads and kids in the car is hardly a good thing, especially when they’re carrying millions of litres of flammable petrol,” Nanva said.

According to a recent New South Wales parliamentary research paper, trucks carried 89% of freight between Sydney and Melbourne and 76% of that between Sydney and Brisbane.