Fatigue management, Heavy vehicle, News, Rest area toilets

Truckies need more rest areas and parking bays, demands new parliamentary report

More funding and construction of rest areas and parking bays, competency-based driver training programs, and the development of an apprenticeship pathway into a driving career.

Those were just three of the recommendations in the report into pressures on heavy vehicle drivers in NSW.

The NSW Legislative Council Committee on Transport and the Arts also called on the state government to run a community education campaign to discourage the use of rest areas by cars and caravans.

The state government now has three months to respond to the commitee’s findings.

“I’m hoping that within that time we’ll put enough weight on them to say you’ve now done this, we want you to act on the recommendations, not just sit on them and do nothing,” said interstate truckie Rod Hannifey, the immediate past president of the National Road Freighters Association.

“I’m putting them on notice that I’ll be expecting them to act, and I’ll certainly be putting pressure on them to do so.”

Report recommendations

  1. That the NSW government fund and construct more heavy vehicle rest areas, whether they be formal or informal rest areas, in metropolitan and regional areas in New South Wales in consultation with the transport and freight industry, to ensure heavy vehicle drivers can effectively manage their fatigue and comply with relevant regulations.
  2. That the government consider the rules and regulations for industrial development in metropolitan Sydney to determine if there should be requirements for particular developments or types of business to include a dedicated percentage of land to allow trucks to be parked overnight.
  3. That the government fund and construct more adequate heavy vehicle parking bays and sites in metropolitan and regional areas in New South Wales, in consultation with the transport and freight industry, to ensure heavy vehicle drivers can effectively manage their fatigue and regulation compliance.
  4. That the government require Transport for NSW to take all necessary steps to: find alternative heavy vehicle rest areas, and parking bays when road works or closures are undertaken that result in existing rest stops being inaccessible; notify the heavy vehicle industry as early as possible prior to the changes occurring.
  5. That the government fund and run a targeted community education campaign for light vehicle drivers on the importance of rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers to discourage their use by cars and caravans.
  6. That the government consult with relevant national bodies regarding the possibility of requiring Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to be included as part of the chain of responsibility framework to ensure the provision of quality training.
  7. That the government consider whether the current heavy vehicle licencing regime, based on a knowledge test and a competency assessment is adequate in the absence of a compulsory education/training component.
  8. That the government endorse the introduction of competency-based driver training programs for new heavy vehicle drivers and ensure drivers issued with a heavy vehicle licence have the various skill sets and experience needed to drive, and manage, a heavy vehicle.
  9. That the government work with transport and freight industry stakeholders to design, develop and implement a cadetship, or apprenticeship, pathway program that allows, or encourages, people to access the workforce as a heavy vehicle driver to help alleviate some of the pressure stemming from workforce shortages in the industry.

Report findings

  1. That inadequate basic training of drivers in the measurement of height and load of heavy vehicles and how to secure loads is contributing to over-height vehicle incidents.
  2. That, in considering all the evidence, there is a need for increased regulation of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and standardised testing and assessment of new heavy vehicle drivers to ensure greater consistency of training standards and quality among providers.
  • For more industry reaction to the report, make sure you grab the March 1 issue of Big Rigs from the usual outlet.

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