Careers & Training, News

New program launches to improve heavy vehicle safety

A new physical and mental health program for the Tasmanian transport industry launched today aiming to improve heavy vehicle safety.

The Tasmanian Transport Association’s (TTA) Open Road – Driver Health and Wellbeing Program, to be delivered in partnership with Rural Alive and Well, officially kicked off at Epping Forest Road House to coincide with National Road Safety Week and is designed to improve safety for heavy vehicle drivers and other road users.

TTA chairman John de Bruyn said the project will be rolled out over the next 18 months, in partnership with Rural Alive and Well, working collaboratively with Tasmanian freight transport businesses.

“Open Road is a program developed by TTA to provide an industry-led approach to address issues of physical and mental health and wellbeing in the Tasmanian transport industry and builds on our physical and mental health and wellbeing strategy,” de Bruyn said.

“We’re excited to expand on our partnerships with Rural Alive and Well, and with the University of Tasmania, along with our members, to provide resources and support that will make a real difference to the wellbeing of people in our industry in Tasmania.”

Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Tasmanian Senator Carol Brown, who launched the program, congratulated the TTA and Rural Alive and Well in establishing this important program.

“The program will provide much needed support for Tasmanian transport workers and businesses, as they seek to raise awareness of the issues and provide practical support to improve the physical and mental health of workers,” Brown said.

“It is a significant step to addressing issues of physical and mental health experienced by drivers and others in the road transport industry.”

[L-R] Wayne Rice (Senior Safety and Compliance Officer NHVR), Michelle Harwood (Executive Director, TTA), Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Hon Michael Ferguson, Simone Reinertsen (NHVR), Kerri Connors (RAW Open Road Facilitator), and Rob Bayles (President Tasmanian Truck Owners & Operators Association).
Barb Walters, CEO from Rural Alive and Well said the program is able to deliver one-on-one support to people across the industry.

“The harsh reality for the Tasmanian transport industry is that health and wellbeing are often neglected,” Walters said.

“By partnering with RAW, the support specifically addresses and helps individuals work through unique situational stressors and challenges associated with the transport sector.”

The team at RAW has unique, first-hand experience within the transport industry, with over 26 years of heavy vehicle driving experience as well as other areas of road transport, training and compliance.”

Open Road is made possible with crucial funding from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), supported by the Australian Government.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the TTA received $266,000 funding as part of the federal government’s $3.5 million investment towards HVSI projects.

“As part of the HVSI, industry will be driving its own safety initiatives to contribute to safer roads, drivers, and vehicles,” Petroccitto said.

“I am excited to see how the Tasmanian Transport Association’s project will make an impact, to deliver improved safety outcomes for all road users.”

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