The National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) recognises that road safety has many facets and affects all on the road, not just truck drivers. Many of our efforts and policies are directed to and or include, aspects of road safety and with Road Safety week upon us now, it is timely to reiterate some of the things we think require further focus and work, to achieve improvements for all.
The list is long, and others may well agree and or raise different issues, but we as truckies, long or short haul, intrastate, interstate or local live and work on the road. It is our workplace and we not only have to deal with the issues we raise here, we have to do our part to see them improved.
1. We support the idea of a national road standard. That roads must be built and maintained to a standard that provides safety for those who use them. We have a large country and a small population, so we do understand we may not have all perfect roads, but they must suit the task. Have you ever rung a road authority to inform them of a problem? The networks in some states are enormous, so they can’t know of every pothole or failure and it is up to us to report these issues to see them repaired and safety returned. A list for each state will be at the bottom.
2. Truck rest areas are insufficient and do not have the shade, separation and toilets needed for us to manage our fatigue. We support a National Rest Area Strategy to stop the loss of informal sites in so many different jurisdictions and the fight to get more and better truck rest areas should not have to be taken up in every district and state.
3. Driver education, that of car drivers about sharing the road with trucks has been completely overlooked in schools, driver training and testing. The statistics which show fatal crashes between cars and trucks are more than 80% the fault of the car driver, must indicate either a lack of awareness or understanding of sharing the road with larger trucks, yet nothing has been done to address this.
4. We recognise the law and its intents, but many of the laws under which we operate are made and also policed, by those who do not have to live by them. We seek fair and just rules and hope the authorities will listen to the submissions to the current Heavy Vehicle National Law review and the Senate Inquiry into road transport.
5. In some ways, fatigue management and mental health are related. With our job and the long hours and often long distances away from friends and family, we have to be able to manage both, all the time. Getting good quality sleep and rest, having access to friends and family, perhaps even if only on the phone at times, can be just as important as your dietary intake and work/life balance. Each of these will have an effect on how you manage the other parts. Do you have someone you can talk to even if you just need to say G’day to someone to retain your sanity, or can you pick up on a mate that needs the same?
You can’t simply, Be Safe, there are so many other factors that will impact on your ability to stay safe, there are other drivers, road conditions, mechanical factors, weather, health and fatigue. Many of these are outside of your control, but you must accept your part, do what you can for your own safety and that of the others you share the road with and hopefully you will achieve what we all want, to get home safely to your family after each and every trip. Do you do your part now? Can you do more? Safety does not just happen, we must all work at it and it is your life and that of others that will be affected if no one thinks about making the effort towards safety on the road.
If you want to raise an issue about road safety, you can ring:
Queensland 131940; New South Wales 131700, Victoria 131170; South Australia 1800018313; Western Australia 138138; Northern Territory 1800 246199; Australian Capital Territory 132281
Or you can consider joining National Road Freighters Association, the more voices calling for change together, the louder the call. Contact us on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.nrfa.com.au
Safe Travelling to all.