Careers & Training, Driver education, Driver training

Getting ‘job ready’ drivers behind the truck wheel

The QTA Heavy Vehicle Safe Driver Project is underway with the first drivers commencing with employers in Cairns and Gatton. 

The program is funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative supported by the Australian Government. 

This program connects drivers with employers who have been unable to get a job due to lack of experience. 

They then determine suitability and offer employment to drivers who undergo the HV Safe Driver Program which involves on-road mentored driving hours and a theory component. 

It will create ‘Job Ready’ drivers who will gain the much needed on-road driving hours and training required by employers. This program will support fleet owners who urgently need to fill driver roles.

“We know that there are many people out there who hold a HR or HC licence and are unable to secure a job truck driving job due to their lack of driving experience,” said QTA CEO Gary Mahon.

“This program will fill that gap by offering employment, a practical training program incorporating up to 160 hours of supervised on-road driving experience.”

This type of program is an industry first in Queensland and will be evaluated by Griffith University to measure the effectiveness of the training.

The QTA is still seeking expressions of interest from people that hold a valid HR or HC licence, not currently working as a heavy vehicle driver because they do not have enough experience in the driver’s seat. 

Applicants must satisfy eligibility criteria and agree to the terms and conditions of the project. Interested applicants can apply through the QR code.

The most recent project approved for funding from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative is the QTA Think. Act. Drive. Program. 

The program will address the interactions that truck drivers have with other road users that can potentially lead to road crashes or unsafe driving behaviour that may result in an accident. 

Mahon explained: “This industry and research informed project will address one of the major contributors to accidents involving heavy vehicles, being driver behaviour. This will be achieved by developing and delivering a unique online training program available nationally for heavy vehicle drivers over the next 12 months.”

The video training content will simulate practical scenarios that heavy vehicle drivers encounter, influence their behaviour and mindset, and potentially impact decisions made whilst driving a heavy vehicle. 

The key theme is centred around two of the top four findings in relation to causes of truck crashes as reported in the 2022 National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) Report: Driver error and human-factor related accident causes (2022 NTARC, p4).

“It is apparent that heavy vehicle drivers, due to the high number of kilometres travelled and time on the road, are likely to often experience challenging interactions with other road users which sees them regularly exposed to unsafe driving behaviour by other road users,” Mahon added.

Safety around heavy vehicles is increasing in the community, however, there are many road users that may not fully understand characteristics of heavy vehicles such as stopping distances, safety space and length of road required when passing. 

The program will focus on how truck drivers react to these interactions, provide relevant and practical training to influence their behaviour and mindset enabling them to make safe driving choices.

Interested applicants can apply here.

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