From the ATA
Ken Wilkie (www.ownerdriver.com.au, April 27, Whole Industry Targeted) makes a strong case on why we need to stand up for the industry. On this, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) completely agrees.
Ken has said that no one from the ATA has been calling for independent, unbiased reviews of heavy vehicle crashes to determine the true causes. On this Ken is incorrect, but it is also a clear signal to the ATA that we need to double down and push even harder for independent safety investigations.
The ATA is fighting to extend the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to cover heavy vehicle crashes. The ATSB conducts independent investigation of transport crashes in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport. But it doesn’t cover roads or heavy vehicles. If a truck crashes on a railway crossing it would potentially trigger an ATSB investigation, but if it crashes 10 metres down the road it does not.
The ATSB is an independent statutory agency that is separated from transport regulators, policy makers and service providers.
It is not a function of the ATSB to apportion blame or to provide a means for determining liability. Its job is to find out the cause, and make recommendations to stop the crash from happening again.
Extending the role of the ATSB to provide independent investigations of heavy vehicle crashes is a key part of the ATA’s safety agenda. We’ve raised it at the highest levels of Government, made repeated recommendations to Government departments, and it has been a focus of our media work.
Just this year Owner//Driver has reported on the ATA’s calls to extend the role of the ATSB on January 9, February 1, February 26, February 27 and March 27.
Ken is also right that we need better driver and road safety education at the secondary school level. The ATA is currently working to refocus our Volvo ATA Safety Truck to target secondary students with road safety education.
The issue is too important to wait for governments to act; the ATA is taking direct action. The ATA is also calling for a consistent and balanced risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement.
On fatigue, we need a new conversation to disrupt current thinking. The ATA’s recent FatigueHACK took a new look at technology to empower drivers to manage their own fatigue.
But the ATA cannot achieve meaningful change on our own, and I commend Ken for standing up and speaking out. Together, we can all stand up for the industry.
CEO, Australian Trucking Association