Pilot schemes in the works to bring younger drivers into industry

Austroads is working on a pilot scheme to get more young drivers into the trucking industry, while making sure they have the level of training needed to keep themselves and others safe on the roads.  

Speaking at the ATA’s annual conference in Canberra earlier this month, Austroads consultant Judy Oswin said that driver inexperience is a major risk factor for crashes.  

“According to data compiled by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, there is a 45 per cent to 90 per cent higher risk of being involved in a heavy vehicle crash when a driver has progressed quickly through the different licence classes,” she said.  

“They have got a heavy vehicle licence while still on a provisional or probational licence, or they have progressed very rapidly through the system, particularly if they didn’t spend two years on a car licence.”  

Paul Davies, general manager of programs for Austroads, said that they want to facilitate more young people becoming truck drivers, while managing the risks that come with inexperience. 

“We recognise that for young drivers, pathway to the industry is a challenge,” he said. 

“We expect to work closely with industry and jurisdictions to be able to bring a pilot forward. 

“That could possibly serve as a model for licencing, going forward.” 

Oswin said there would be a lot of work involved in designing these pilot programs.  

“We want to look at the regulatory issues that would be involved in that, and then engage with employers about the kinds of things that they think might work. 

“There’s a fair bit of work in designing the programs and then, importantly, we will need to evaluate those programs.  

“We’re going to need to get base data, we’re going to need to follow these people through the pilot programs, and then we’re going to need to evaluate the safety outcomes of the people who participate in those programs.  

“I think we’re looking at up to ten years before we know whether they’ve worked. But it’s important, and you’ve got to start somewhere.”  

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