Safety message is confused
Mass response to media reports on driver safety
THE issue of driver safety has entered the realms of mainstream media this month, prompting a suite of responses from industry bodies and driver representatives alike.
The mass reaction from the sector was triggered by a number of investigative pieces by Mario Christaodoulou of the Sydney Morning Herald, who looked into the aftermath of the Mona Vale incident, trucking fatality statistics, the Chain Of Responsibility laws and pressures on drivers.
Unsurprisingly this story opened up old wounds for representatives, with numerous statements on the matter calling for support for the RSRT, to faster law reform to “We are doing just fine”.
The Australian Trucking Association called for a set start date for the new truck laws scheduled to begin in 2018.
“The ATA and its members lobbied strongly for the new laws, which include a new primary safety duty for all businesses in the road freight transport chain of responsibility, including the extension of the laws to maintenance, a due diligence obligation on company executives, and a massive increase in maximum penalties,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said.
“The laws are due to come into effect in 2018, but we do not yet have a defined starting date,” he said.
The association also called for the government to publish the results of the current review into truck driver training and licensing.
Alternatively the Transport Workers’ Union demanded a direct government response to the report, outside of COR.
“The Federal Government cannot ignore the role it has played in making our roads less safe to travel on,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.
“What has been exposed is something the government has been warned about repeatedly and yet chose to make worse.
“It tore down the independent RSRT investigating the very problems raised.”
NatRoad then jumped on the TWU’s mention of the RSRT.
“Reintroduction of the RSRT is not a magic pudding for the road transport industry,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said.
“Recent comments by the TWU about truck safety just show their obsession with the RSRT rather than constructively adding to the concerns on safety. ILLUSTRATION: KIRSTIN PAYNE
“The TWU should direct its efforts to educating members about this reform of the Heavy Vehicle National law, rather than focusing on the negative.”