Telematics has trust issues: NatRoad

Greater adoption of telematics could help the road transport industry meet the challenge of a growing freight task, but must be regulated fairly and transparently, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says.

In a submission to a discussion paper about telematics, NatRoad has told the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) it has concerns about the need to keep law enforcement and data collection separate.

“There is no doubt that telematics has the potential to make operators lives easier by improving safety, efficiency and productivity,” said CEO Warren Clark.

“In fact, NatRoad has partnered with Teletrac Navman to promote the adoption of telematics by members across Australia. We are generally opposed to the use of telematic data, collected under the provisions of the HVNL, for any purpose other than one clearly authorised under the HVNL. 

“Of course, that doesn’t include private arrangements that are lawfully and transparently done with the consent of all parties involved.

Clark believes a lack of trust is a significant barrier to greater uptake of telematics.

“This impedes the significant advances in safety, efficiency and productivity that the widespread adoption could deliver,” he said.

Clark said labour shortages and recent significant weather events made the national freight task more challenging.

“The challenge is to drive the uptake of telematics with regulation and enforcement of mass and dimension access conditions that is transparent and fair,” Clark said.

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) also responded to the paper and said it generally views telematics related access conditions as an unnecessary cost to operators that generate little or no direct safety benefit.

“The presence of a telematics system does not override the immediate decisions of drivers, road conditions, weather conditions or the actions other motorists, pedestrians or free ranging animals,” the ALRTA said. “However, some operators are prepared to accept telematics as an access condition, provided that there are substantial access or productivity benefits.”

In its submission, the association also argued that evidence suggests that telematics does little to protect public infrastructure or to assist real-time compliance and enforcement.

An NHVR spokesperson said it conducted an 8-week consultation with road managers and industry stakeholders, seeking feedback to help develop a policy and principles for the consistent use of telematics for risk management and to improve access and productivity.

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