The state and federal governments must set a start date for the new trucking laws which are coming into effect in 2018, Geoff Crouch, chair of the ATA urged recently.
Mr Crouch was speaking in response to media stories over the weekend of 9 and 10 September about truck safety.
“The ATA and its members lobbied strongly for the new laws, which include a new primary safety duty for all businesses in the road freight transport chain of responsibility, including the extension of the laws to maintenance, a due diligence obligation on company executives, and a massive increase in maximum penalties. These laws are needed to stop large industry customers from pressuring trucking businesses into operating unsafely on the road,” Geoff said.
“Having a specific starting date is necessary to focus the attention of every industry customer,” he said.
He explained that the laws were necessary to stop large industry customers from putting pressure on trucking businesses to operate unsafely on the road for fear of losing contracts. However a definitive start date has not yet been set although we know that the laws will come into affect in 2018.
He went on to explain,
“The ATA and its members are running strong information campaigns about the new laws, as is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. With the Australian Logistics Council, we are jointly developing a master registered code of practice to help businesses comply. But having a specific starting date is needed to focus the attention of every industry customer,” he said.
He also called for governments to commit to publishing the results of the current review into truck driver training and licensing, with consultants in charge of the review expected to report back by November in 2017.
“As a result of pressure from the good operators and trainers in our industry, governments are reviewing the truck driver licensing and training system. The consultants undertaking the review are scheduled to report back in November 2017,” he said.
“Given the concerns raised by industry about the quality of driver training and licensing, and the stories over the weekend, governments must now commit to make the report public so we can all see the findings,” he said.
Mr Crouch went on to say that the rate of fatal crashes involving large trucks like semi-trailers was improving at a steady pace.
Data from the University of Adelaide Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) indicates that the fatal crash rate for articulated trucks dropped by an impressive 82 per cent between 1982 and 2016 while the number of articulated trucks in the country rose by about 47,000 in 1982 to more than 96,000 in 2016. The downward trend of fatal crashes despite the rising number of trucks on the road indicates excellent progress, progress that must continue. Mr Crouch went on to explain that the only acceptable truck crash rate is zero.