From the ATA

Owner Driver - - Your Say -

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.

Ben Maguire

CEO, Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion

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