Timely tech­nol­ogy emer­gence

Big Rigs - - COLUMNS - RE­FORM LEADER SAL PETROCCITTO Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor, CEO

THE heavy ve­hi­cle in­dus­try has made strong gains in­cor­po­rat­ing a range of safety tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems, in­clud­ing some tar­geted at re­duc­ing driver fa­tigue in­ci­dents.

These fa­tigue-re­lated tech­nolo­gies vary, but more re­cently we’ve seen the emer­gence of in-cabin cam­eras, on-per­son sen­sors and even on-glasses sen­sors.

It’s be­ing used by a small, but grow­ing sec­tion of the heavy ve­hi­cle in­dus­try.

As a reg­u­la­tor, the emer­gence of these tech­nolo­gies is timely, as it’s oc­cur­ring around the same time we’re kick-start­ing a broader dis­cus­sion around re­form to our cur­rent fa­tigue laws and work and rest hour frame­work.

I’ve also read with in­ter­est in these pages the com­ments of Queens­land Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Gary Ma­hon about the rapid growth in both the num­ber of fa­tigue pro­vi­sions and com­plex­ity of those pro­vi­sions in the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Law.

Gary made some good points around the use of sci­ence and ap­plied think­ing to bring about a great re­sult for road safety and shift in driv­ing cul­ture. He also called on law­mak­ers to “set a new vi­sion for man­ag­ing the risk of fa­tigue”.

Point well made, Gary. Our fa­tigue laws, which are based on work and rest hours, are now nearly two decades old.

They have led to sig­nif­i­cant safety gains, but I ac­knowl­edge that there is still a lot of work to do.

Last week, the NHVR hosted a Fa­tigue Safety Fo­rum.

This event was at­tended by about 40 in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing ma­jor com­pa­nies, owner driv­ers, and busi­nesses from across the supply chain.

It will al­low the NHVR to bet­ter work with in­dus­try to im­prove fa­tigue safety out­comes.

Look­ing for­ward, I’m com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing fur­ther re­search and tri­als of the emerg­ing fa­tigue tech­nolo­gies to see if they’re able to de­liver ad­di­tional safety ben­e­fits over tra­di­tional ap­proaches by also mon­i­tor­ing driver dis­trac­tion and drowsi­ness.

In ad­di­tion to safety fea­tures, we want to look at op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency of dif­fer­ent fa­tigue mon­i­tor­ing tech­nolo­gies and the best ways to sup­port their up­take.

This will re­quire field op­er­a­tions of dif­fer­ent fa­tigue mon­i­tor­ing tech­nolo­gies as well as con­sul­ta­tion with cur­rent users to de­ter­mine what if any, law changes should be con­sid­ered in the re­view of the heavy ve­hi­cle law.

The re­view of our fa­tigue laws will be an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the wider re­view of the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law, which is be­ing pro­posed for 2019.

Again the NHVR sup­ports this re­view, and we want to make sure they meet the fu­ture safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity needs of the Aus­tralia’s heavy ve­hi­cle in­dus­try.

Bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion, tech­nol­ogy and new pro­ce­dures are reg­u­larly emerg­ing and it’s im­por­tant that fu­ture fa­tigue reg­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to en­cour­age these ini­tia­tives.

PHOTO: BIG RIGS

LOOK­ING FOR­WARD: The NHVR is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing re­search and tri­als on emerg­ing fa­tigue tech­nol­ogy.

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