VTA on driver training, licensing shortfalls
Anderson spruiks bene ts of VTA’s training and instruction program
EXISTING AUSTRALIAN HEAVY vehicle driver licence and training requirements are not of high standard, Victorian Transport Association ( VTA) CEO Peter Anderson says.
Speaking at the 2017 Technical and Maintenance Conference ( TMC) in Melbourne last month, Anderson outlined how heavy vehicle driver license training requirements are out of step with requirements for drivers of other modes of transport.
“Regrettably, the industry does not have a good record in training drivers, partially because there is very little funding support for it,” Anderson says.
“In fact, there is very little training for drivers at all except for on-thejob experience.
“For example, we have an issue with the licencing of heavy vehicle drivers.
“Did you know that it takes 120 hours of instruction before you can sit for a car licence, 20 hours before you can sit a motorcycle licence, and even 20 hours of instruction before you can be tested to fly a plane solo?
“However, there are no pre- set hours of on-road instruction before you can sit for a heavy vehicle licence test.
“What it does take is just fi ve hours of on- site training, the ability to reverse the vehicle 50 metres in a straight line, and $1000 dollars. And you do not even have to be able to read English.”
Anderson reinforces the importance of driver training to help operators improve safety standards and boost productivity by keeping downtime to an absolute minimum. He calls for a licensing model based on VTA’s existing hands- on training and instruction program.
“With the support of the Andrews Government, the VTA has been bringing new drivers into the industry that have spent eight days on the road under instruction,” Anderson says.
“These drivers have developed skills in vehicle dynamics, road craft and attitude before they step out onto the road in a driver’s job. They are provided with 66 hours behind the wheel, under instruction before being able to take the licence test.”
Anderson says the VTA program will assist in resetting the expectations of the transport industry about how a heavy vehicle driver is trained and, over time, improve professionalism within the industry.