An estimated 50 inexperienced Queensland drivers can now be upskilled to a ‘jobs ready’ standard under a new funding stream announced by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) today.
The would-be truckies will be trained under a pilot scheme administered by the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA), one of 15 recipients of a combined $3.5 million in the latest round of the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI).
Kicking off early in the New Year, the drivers will be given 160 hours of supervised post licence on-road driving hours, and will also attend four one-day classes in a bid to help plug the growing driver shortage in the industry.
QTA CEO Gary Mahon hopes the Safer Heavy Vehicle Driver Program will be a precurser to its Jobs Ready initiative which aims to upskill newly licenced drivers along similar lines.
He said it was evident that there is a lack of opportunity for newly licenced heavy vehicle drivers to gain the required hours of on-road experience and this is a significant contributor to the driver shortage in Australia for commercial fleet operators.
“The QTA Safer Heavy Vehicle Driver Program aims to produce competency based, safe, skilled, licensed heavy vehicle drivers of a standard that will satisfy employers and enhance road safety outcomes,” said Mahon.
“The program will include a combination of theory classroom-based education and practical on-road driving instruction. The calibre of newly licenced truck drivers produced in this program will improve the level of on-road competency through the inclusion of 160 logged hours of supervised post licence on-road driving hours.
“This is not currently included in current driver training programs and there are no options for a newly licenced driver to achieve this unless employed. This increased level of control over the on-road driver training component will provide the local supply chain with more confidence in the quality of newly licenced drivers operating the trucks and managing and delivering freight into local communities.”
Mahon said the scheme also opens up opportunities to train skilled migrants.
“They’ll be elements of this program, we would argue, that need to be applied to skilled migrants, and it’s also an opportunity to give people a start in the industry who are otherwise having great difficulty getting a start because they don’t have sufficient experience.
“This gives assurance to employers that they can develop these peopple to be compentent and able transport operators, and insurers are very supportive of this concept because of the formal way in which the experience of these people will be developed.”
Mahon said there is “several hundred thousand dollars” available over the next two years to help train the drivers.
Women in Trucking Association also received funding to help bridge the licence to employment gap with its Foot in the Door program.
The “fit-for-purpose” initiative aims to link already licenced, inexperienced female HR/HC/MC drivers who’ve not been able to get that critical “foot in the door” with training organisations and employers nationally.
“There are some exciting grassroots projects included in Round 7 that can create meaningful change across a local, regional and national level,” said NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto.
“I urge anyone who has a heavy vehicle safety project idea to get a head start on their application for Round 8 of the HVSI program, to contribute towards making Australia’s roads safer for all users.”
Other recipients in round 7 of the HVSI are [the NHVR doesn’t release details of how much each one received]:
Project: Data-Driven Driver Behaviour Improvement Initiative.
Objective: To support the NHVR Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy by using data and data analytics to provide drivers with real-time training and feedback, as well as trends being shared across industry associations and training providers.
Advantia Transport Consulting
Project: Heavy vehicle safe payload height and safe speed SRT calculator.
Objective: This project is for the development of an online tool which will be freely available to industry to easily calculate the Static Rollover Threshold (SRT) of Performance Based Standards (PBS) and non-PBS heavy vehicle combinations to enable safe and productive operation, and compliance with industry codes of practice or guidelines.
Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association
Project: Using telematic data to reduce the incidence of truck roll-over crashes.
Objective: Promote, and provide guidance in, the use of telematic data from heavy vehicle electronic stability control systems (ESC) to encourage safer driver behaviour in the livestock transport industry and reduce the incidence of truck roll-over crashes.
Barunga West Council
Project: Barunga West Council Network Level Heavy Vehicle Route Assessment & Risk Analysis.
Objective: This project is for the Heavy Vehicle Route and Risk Assessments (HVRRA) for permit requests of the National Heavy Vehicle Network. A report will be produced that will allow for the assessment of roads to determine suitability for possible gazetting of Council roads, as well as condition assessment. The report will provide data on carriageway suitability as well as identifying any deficiencies that may require upgrade and/or revision of safety design aspects such as: turn paths, speed, clear zones, overtaking and bridges/culverts which will in turn assist in the assessment process, or consider refusal of some roads due to above.
Bus Industry Confederation
Project: Transition to zero emission buses – Industry advisories to support the transition to ZEBs.
Objective: The development of CoP, guidelinesand advisories for Zero Emission Buses
Container Transport Alliance Australia
Project: Heavy Vehicle Safety and Safe Container Loading Practice Awareness.
Objective: Organisation and delivery of eight seminars, which are an extension of the Safe Loads/Safe Roads campaign previously developed by CTAA. These now include the specific regulatory advice on managing the risk of transporting freight inside shipping containers, recently developed by NHVR. The seminars will be delivered across 5 states in both metropolitan and regional areas.
Fenix-Newhaul Pty Ltd
Project: Implementation of support products for the Log Haulage Code of Practice
Objective: Kickstart Training Academy Steady State – Heavy Vehicle Simulator and Training Program
Project: Implementation of support products for the Log Haulage Code of Practice
Objective: This project will develop two products that will support recognition, adoption, implementation and compliance to the Log Haulage Code of Practice that is currently being assessed by the NHVR for registration. The products are:
- A set of educational videos directly related Log Haulage for free, widely accessible industry use
- Log Haulage Manual.
An updated Log Haulage Manual that reflects, incorporates, and supplements the Log Haulage Code of Practice for free, widely accessible industry use.
Industrial Foundation for Accident Prevention
Project: Road Hazard Identification and Avoidance Program.
Objective: The development of the ‘Road Hazard Avoidance Training Program’ focuses on: navigating road networks, hazard perception and awareness, driving to weather conditions, operating trucks on busy civil sites around small plant, the importance of conducting pre-starts and fatigue management, mental health awareness around working in an isolated environment, importance of movement breaks and physical activity while driving long distances and entering the transport/ civil sector with limited English or from a culturally diverse background.
Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association
Project: Heavy Vehicle Rollover Awareness Program (HVRAP) 2.0.
Objective: This project is for the development of additional modules and case studies for the HVRAP. The LBRCA will extend the existing HVRAP modules around specific rollover awareness content and the HVNL and will develop an additional module that will capture consistent data and generate analytical reporting about heavy vehicle rollover events using a new Rollover Crash Investigation Tool (to be developed).
Project: Streamline for Safety Program.
Objective: This project will develop an interactive app for the heavy vehicle industry which will assess opportunities to simplify and optimise operations in order to improve productivity, reduce fatigue, driver behaviour and improve the mental health of drivers.
The project will include a completed field trial of a simplification intervention and behavioural, health, and self-report measures related to fatigue and safety.
Tasmanian Transport Association
Project: Open Road – Driver Health and Wellbeing Program.
Objective: Through the Tasmanian Transport Industry Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing Program: Open Road, TTA, in partnership with Rural Alive and Well (RAW), is taking positive action for the health and wellbeing of drivers in our industry. The project takes an integrated approach to physical and mental health and wellbeing with practical actions focussed on both aspects, including driver health and wellbeing consultations at heavy vehicle driver rest areas, supported by the University of Tasmania.
Victorian Transport Association
Project: Over Size Over Mass Load Restraint Risk Reduction Program.
Objective: The project will develop training materials for a consignor/operator/loader/driver training program. The project will also develop critical risk documentation and associated load restraint materials/documentation. The aim of the project is a reduction in risk for the transport of Over Size Over Mass (OSOM) loads in Victoria, through the provision of targeted training and awareness sessions.