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Apprentice Winners

The Australian Trucking Association has announced the winners of the 2015 Cummins South Pacific TMC scholarships. Three lucky apprentices have won a scholarship, sponsored by Cummins South Pacific, to attend the upcoming TMC in Melbourne. Read more

The End of the Logbook?

The project of electronic work diaries (EWD) being able to be used as a legal record of work has taken another step closer to fruition. A decision by the Queensland Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources parliamentary committee recommended the Queensland parliament pass the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015.

 

 

This bill, if passed, would open up the possibility of the National heavy Vehicle Regulator beginning the process of approving EWDs. Operators who are already using a form of EWD in their business should be able to do away with the current paper version. It is expected the take-up of EWDs will be relatively quick among the larger trucking businesses, but may prove uneconomical for smaller operators to use.

 

 

Some of the concerns raised by the trucking industry during the discussion stage of the bill’s development have been considered. The report confirms the proposed eight minute small breach electronic work diary tolerance will be reviewed after two years. However, the zero tolerance for rest time errors will not be changed.

 

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“The electronic diaries that would be approved under this bill would replace the need for written work diaries, potentially offering a considerable reduction in the red tape burden faced by operators and drivers,” said Christopher Melham, ATA CEO. “However, the risk of a two-tiered regulatory regime could deter operators and drivers from making the change.

 

 

“We also welcome the confirmation that electronic work diaries will be voluntary. Although electronic work diaries could offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators or those who don’t currently fall under work diary requirements.

 

 

“In the ATA’s view, the only situation where electronic work diaries should be mandatory is where a court orders an operator to install them after convicting the operator of an offence.”

 

 

The full text of the Queensland Parliamentary Committee Report is available from the Queensland Parliament Website.

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Last Chance Award

Nominations for the 2015 Craig Roseneder Award close on September 7. Truck workshops around Australia are urged to make sure they take this opportunity to recognise someone who puts in extra efforts towards excellence in the workshop.

 

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Former C

 

Sponsored by Castrol Vecton, the award recognises technical and maintenance excellence and is open to individuals who work full time as a workshop manager or mechanic in the Australian trucking industry.

 

Australian Trucking Association CEO Chris Melham said the trucking industry was privileged to have exceptionally talented, dedicated professionals in workshops right across the country.

 

 

“Fleet maintenance is about more than keeping the engine running,” said Melham. “For our Craig Roseneder Award nominees, it’s a passion and a challenge to make sure their fleet is as safe and efficient as possible.”

 

 

The winner of the 2015 Craig Roseneder Award will receive a trip to Nashville, USA to attend the American Trucking Associations’ 2016 Technology and Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition, courtesy of Castrol Vecton.

 

 

Nominees for the Craig Roseneder Award must have at least five years of experience in their field, and self-nominations are not accepted. For more information and to make a nomination, go to the ATA website. www.truck.net.au/awards

Vale Noel Hoare

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association marks the passing of one of the stalwarts of the trucking industry. Diesel News reproduces their announcement of the news about Noel Hoare. Read more

Improve the Chain

The chain of responsibility (COR) legislation needs to be streamlined with safety prioritised is a common view in the trucking industry. The current legislation sets out COR duties by attempting to prescribe exactly how businesses must operate, discouraging innovation and creating unnecessary red tape. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

When is a defect not a defect?

One of those perennial issues which dogs the trucking industry is the inconsistency of roadside enforcement. No matter what you do, it is always possible to get a truck defected in a roadside inspection. This is frustrating for everyone involved, all the way from the owner, the driver and operations, as well as the workshop responsible for maintaining and fixing the issue.

 

 

How many times have you heard the story of a truck driver who has driven through several states and had the truck inspected a number of times, only to have the last roadside inspector defect the vehicle for something trivial? Then begins the tiresome process of getting the defect cleared, never easy and the process often seems to have been designed just to create even more frustration.

 

 

It was this kind of unnecessary difficulty the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was set up to eliminate. Several years into the project and we are just starting to see some real progress in some areas, but this roadside inconsistency is likely to continue for quite some time.

 

 

This week Christopher Melham has spoken out about the issue, at the same time as spruiking the ATA’s 2015 TMC in Melbourne in October. The point is a valid one, and the event will see representatives of the roadside agencies and truck workshop on the dais working through the topic. However, this is only just scratching the surface, the problem is deeply rooted in the custom and practice of trucking regulation.

 

 

“We’ve all heard of cases where the same roadworthiness requirement is interpreted differently by jurisdictions or inspectors, leading to confusion,” said Chris. “Safety is our highest priority on the road. But the trucking industry’s workshops need to know exactly what the standards are, in order for them to keep their fleet in top shape.”

 

 

The problems are manifold. There is no way to set hard and fast rules on the roadworthiness of every truck in every situation. The standards are set very precisely, but, on a case by case basis, every single item is open interpretation. It is often the individual officer who makes the call, based on experience and training, but also the attitude of the driver to the inspection and perhaps their own mood, good or bad.

 

 

Of course we have to accept a certain degree of variation. People are different and judgement calls will always vary, it’s simply human nature. The problem is, this is not the only variable effecting the situation.

 

 

Each state has developed their own roadside enforcement agency and they have grown to have their own culture, and these are markedly different as you move from state to state. Just the way the driver is spoken to and how the situation is explained can be vastly different. Anyone with experience of vehicle inspections in two or more states will be able to testify to this.

 

 

Variation between states was further enhanced by the fact, vehicle law was different in each state. The introduction of the NHVR has seen a convergence of the basic rules, but the variable cultures and interpretations this engenders continue to frustrate.

 

 

Then we have to include the political factor. Sometimes, the state government needs to make a political point and demonstrate its clamping down hard on the trucking industry. It is hard to believe the inspectors involved in a highly publicised blitz on trucking aren’t motivated to get the defect count up to serve the point their department is trying to make.

 

 

So, here we have it, a series of factors, all of which accentuate the other. If all of the influences are against the truckie, there is no way the truck is going to get away without a defect, we all know it’s impossible to have a truck absolutely perfect all of the time.

 

 

Conversely, it’s also possible for all of the influences on a defect decision are going the other way. In the worst case scenario, this could mean a fully loaded truck pulling out onto the highway, after an inspection, but with defective brakes, a disaster waiting to happen.

 

 

We will never be able to eliminate the human error factor, but everything else needs improvement. It urgently needs a concerted push by all concerned to get a single standard accepted in every state. Then those consistent standards need to be driven hard, down through the hierarchy so they genuinely affect the person stood at the side of the road making calls on defects. We’ve already been waiting too long!

COR reform on track

Reforms to the chain of responsibilities regime has taken a step closer with a recent release by the National Transport Commission. The NTC discussion paper details the proposed specific requirements of participants in the supply chain. Read more

Technician scholarships available

Up to three scholarships are up for grabs for up and coming young service technicians under 25. Cummins South Pacific is sponsoring the search for young service technicians from Australian workshops to receive one of three scholarships to attend the 2015 Paccar and Dealer TMC in Melbourne on October 26-28.
Read more

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Searching for the best

The one award in the trucking industry, specifically aimed at recognising talent and dedication in a truck workshop will be awarded later this year. Nominations are now open for the 2015 Craig Roseneder Award, which recognises technical and maintenance excellence in the trucking industry’s workshops.

 

 

Sponsored by Castrol Vecton, the award is open to any individual who works full time as a workshop manager or mechanic in the Australian trucking industry for a trucking company, supplier or commercial workshop. The Craig Roseneder Award is one of the National Trucking Industry Awards.

 

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The CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Christopher Melham, said the trucking industry is privileged to have exceptionally talented, dedicated professionals in workshops right across the country.

 

 

“Fleet maintenance is about more than keeping the engine running. For our Craig Roseneder Award nominees, it’s a passion and a challenge to make sure their fleet is as safe and efficient as possible,” said Melham. “Not only do these people keep their vehicles in top shape, they’re often known to improve on them with safety innovations they’ve conceived and developed in their own time.

 

 

“Though highly regarded, these people are often the quiet achiever in the workplace. I encourage members of the industry to help us recognise these exceptional people by nominating them for the 2015 Craig Roseneder Award.”

 

 

The winner of the 2015 Craig Roseneder Award will receive a trip to Nashville, USA to attend the American Trucking Associations’ 2016 Technology and Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition, courtesy of Castrol Vecton.

 

 

The prize includes airfares, full registration to the event, premium conference accommodation, partners program (if applicable), AUD $1,500 in spending money, and registration to the 2016 Paccar and Dealer TMC.

 

 

All nominations must be received by September 7 2015. Nominees for the Craig Roseneder Award must have at least five years of experience in their field, and self-nominations are not accepted.

 

 

For more information on the Craig Roseneder Award and to make a nomination, go to the ATA Website.

 

 

The Award will be presented at the Castrol Vecton Awards Dinner on Tuesday 27 October in Melbourne. For tickets to the dinner, go to the TMC Website. 

Shane Wants You To Tell a Mate 

Review EWD tolerances

The current bill introducing electronic work diaries does not properly consider issues with how small breaches of the work and rest rules would be treated. Chris Melham, Australian Trucking Association CEO has stated the time tolerances used in planned EWD should be reviewed after two years.

 

 

This review is one of the recommendations in the ATA’s submission to the Queensland Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee enquiry into the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015, the bill which will enable EWDs under the regulations.

 

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“At present, the Heavy Vehicle National Law requires drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles to fill out written work diaries to record their work and rest hours,” said Melham. “The time periods in these written work diaries are required to be rounded to the nearest 15 minutes, and are hand-written by the driver.

 

 

“The electronic diaries that would be approved under this bill would replace the need for written work diaries, potentially offering a considerable reduction in the red tape burden faced by operators and drivers. These systems would automatically round to the nearest one minute interval, with a maximum work time tolerance of eight minutes in a 24 hour period. There would be no tolerance for errors in rest times.

 

“The ATA believes these differences in the legislated work and rest limit tolerances would create a two-tiered regulatory system, with EWD users facing a significantly tighter regulatory regime than those using written work diaries. As a result, we expect that many operators and drivers would decide to continue using the written diaries, despite potential red tape savings.

 

 

“Ideally, the bill and the Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation should be amended immediately to address the industry’s concerns. Alternatively, the NTC’s recommended two-year review of the tolerances should be locked in to the NTC work program and NHVR corporate plans now.”

 

 

The submission by the ATA uses a real-world work example to demonstrate the differences in the diary systems. In this example, a driver takes an early rest break to have a nap, but rests for 29 minutes, rather than thirty minutes. This minor error would disappear in a written work diary, as the driver would inevitably round the break up to half an hour. However, an EWD would record every minute of discrepancy. The driver would be exposed to a maximum penalty of $4,100 unless an extra 15 minute work break was taken. The submission also reiterates the ATA’s call for electronic work diary use to be on a voluntary basis only.

 

 

“Although EWDs could offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators or those who don’t currently fall under work diary requirements,” said Melham. “In the ATA’s view, the only situation where EWDs should be mandatory is where a court orders an operator to install them after convicting the operator of an offence.”

 

The submission is available at the ATA Website.