Plenty of lessons to be learned from US

Big Rigs - - EDITORIAL | OPINION - ED­I­TOR JAMES GRAHAM james.graham@bi­

A LOT of im­por­tant take­aways from my week in Dal­las at The Great Amer­i­can Truck­ing Show.

For one, I had to ac­cept that those guys run­ning around in hel­mets, tights and shoul­der pads in the NFL were ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­bly skil­ful ath­letes play­ing a game even a rugby fan like my­self could get hooked on.

But most im­por­tantly, that the US truck­ing in­dus­try is fac­ing the ex­actly the same ma­jor is­sues we are in Aus­tralia with ram­pant driver short­ages and the need for more flex­i­ble fa­tigue laws. It was in­ter­est­ing to note also the wide­spread ac­cep­tance of Elec­tronic Log­ging De­vices, the Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent of our Elec­tronic Work Di­aries.

With a few ex­cep­tions, they are now manda­tory there and from what I can gather from chatting to a hand­ful of driv­ers at the three-day in­dus­try show­case, most are em­brac­ing the ef­fi­ciency ad­van­tages.

They just now need to get the reg­u­la­tors there to build in more lee­way into their hours of ser­vice. The one-size-fits-all model is clearly caus­ing fric­tion. Sound fa­mil­iar?

As I write this, there are promis­ing signs of pos­i­tive changes ahead in Aus­tralia. The Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Trans­port and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Michael McCor­mack just an­nounced a $132.5 mil­lion spend on road­ing and rest stops, and in­dus­try bosses have con­vened a spe­cial safety sum­mit in Oc­to­ber.

Fin­gers crossed we get fol­low-through.

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