Fa­tigue re­search link sealed

Australian Transport News - - News -

IN WHAT is de­scribed as an Aus­tralian first, the Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre for Alert­ness, Safety and Pro­duc­tiv­ity ( Alert­ness CRC) and the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion ( NTC) will link to eval­u­ate the ef­fect of the Heavy

Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law ( HVNL) on heavy ve­hi­cle driver fa­tigue.

With the in­dus­try chron­i­cally un­der-re­searched, the al­liance will seek ev­i­dence on the im­pact of work sched­ul­ing prac­tices on heavy ve­hi­cle driver fa­tigue, and the qual­ity and quan­tity of driv­ers’ sleep dur­ing min­i­mum rest pe­ri­ods.

The re­search and un­der­stand­ing short­fall means “our abil­ity to ex­am­ine the im­pact of cur­rent laws on heavy ve­hi­cle driver fa­tigue has been chal­lenged”, the NTC says.

Mak­ing use of “in­creas­ingly ac­cu­rate alert­ness de­tec­tion meth­ods and sleep mon­i­tor­ing de­vices”, the Alert­ness CRC re­search aims to sup­port fu­ture fa­tigue re­forms.

“The CRC’s key mis­sion is to con­duct re­search and de­velop new prod­ucts and ser­vices that will im­prove alert­ness, safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity for in­di­vid­u­als and within or­gan­i­sa­tions,” Alert­ness CRC CEO An­thony Wil­liams says.

“Through our part­ner­ship with the NTC, and with the sup­port of our other in­dus­try and aca­demic part­ners, this project will fa­cil­i­tate the best re­search to sup­port HVNL fa­tigue laws and de­liver the safest out­comes for heavy ve­hi­cle driv­ers and op­er­a­tors.”

The study will take place over 18 months, mea­sur­ing driver drowsi­ness and sleep­ing pat­terns, both on the road dur­ing real-world work shifts and in lab­o­ra­tory set­tings.

Ac­cord­ing to the NTC, the re­search will “use state- of- the- art alert­ness mea­sure­ment tech­nolo­gies and a unique com­bi­na­tion of re­search and in­dus­try- based ex­per­tise that is made avail­able through the Alert­ness CRC”. “Our role is to help im­prove the pro­duc­tiv­ity, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance of Aus­tralia’s road, rail and in­ter­modal trans­port sys­tems,” NTC chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Ret­ter says.

“We do this by propos­ing and de­vel­op­ing na­tional re­forms and help­ing to en­sure that those re­form out­comes ap­proved by min­is­ters are re­alised on the ground.”

Along with cash from Trans­port for New South Wales, the In­sti­tute for Breath­ing and Sleep and Monash Univer­sity, the ef­fort gained $ 828,000 in fed­eral fund­ing.

The fed­eral spend at­tracted im­me­di­ate fl ack from the Trans­port Work­ers Union ( TWU), which com­pared it un­favourably with the Coali­tion gov­ern­ment’s abo­li­tion of the Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal ( RSRT).

“We have had decades of re­search telling us truck driver fa­tigue is a ma­jor prob­lem and that fi nan­cial pres­sure on truck­ing com­pa­nies and driv­ers them­selves is what is forc­ing peo­ple to drive long hours,” TWU act­ing na­tional sec­re­tary Michael Kaine says.

An­thony Wil­liams

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