Safety mes­sage is con­fused

Mass re­sponse to me­dia re­ports on driver safety

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kirstin Payne kirstin.payne@bi­grigs.com.au

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.”

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