Roughing It in a Parking Bay Overnight 

Roughing It in a Parking Bay Overnight 


It’s good to see someone like Ben Maguire roughing it in a parking bay overnight and not only living to tell the tale, but making a serious point about some basic rights for truckies. It should be a human right for anyone working away from home to have access to toilets, lighting and water.


Ben spent the night in a truck, a comfortable modern truck by the way, the ATA Safety Truck, at a rest area south of Sydney. As he recounts his experience, the seasoned truckie could probably be heard muttering something like, ‘You were lucky!’ in the manner of Monty Python’s four Yorkshiremen. There were toilets there, with lights, which were poor, however.


The overnight truck parking area was close to the highway, but the cars were parked well away from the noisy road. Ben also packed a sound meter for the night and measured over 90 decibels as he sat in his cabin. He points out WorkSafe reckon 70 decibels is the limit for a workplace, but this is not for working in, this where the driver sleeps.


Luckily, no refrigerated trailers pulled in for a break during the night, neither did two decks of cattle on their way to the abattoir pop in for a quick break, However, he reports a broken night’s sleep and headed out at 4.30am to return to the relative civilisation of Canberra and a decent shower facility.


Ben’s job should now be to get a few more takers for a night in a sleeper cab somewhere on Australia’s wonderful set of highways. If the decision makers at Austroads, who will be considering the proposed guidelines for the different levels of standards for Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas, spent a couple of nights out there, the proposed standards might sit a little higher than they do currently.


According to the standards, toilets, lighting and water is ‘desirable’ in the top tier of rest areas. Is it also desirable for a small workplace employing a few people (who can go home at the end of the day, by the way!) to have access to these facilities. It’s not ‘desirable’, it’s mandatory.


The reality for most truck drivers trying to pull up for a mandatory rest anywhere in Australia is the situation in which they have to take their rest is less than satisfactory and, in many cases, is disgusting. Climbing out of truck in the middle of the night when you finally find a rest area with enough room to fit your B-double is not very welcoming. Stepping down onto the unlit broken surface of the parking area, the driver is hit by the smell of urine and realises there are zero facilities on site.


From the point of view of the truck driver on the road, these conditions show us that the people who are being served by the road transport industry have no respect for those who make sure their Corn Flakes are on the supermarket shelf for them every day. Being treated with no respect leads to resentment and a negative attitude.


They are not asking for much. the facilities on offer don’t have to match those available to the shiny bums in Canberra who are making the decisions on conditions in rest areas. All they have to do is ensure the truck driver, who keeps our nine per cent of the nation’s GDP going, can sleep for a few hours with only a little disturbance and has access to something like a basic toilet, which most other people would regard as a sacrosanct human right.

Call for Review of the National Trucking Laws

The Australian Trucking Association has made a call for review of the national trucking laws to enable the trucking industry to avoid keep freight moving. According to Ben Maguire, ATA CEO, an independent, agile and wide-ranging review of Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is needed urgently and must gain the support of transport ministers. Read more

Are We Ready For the New Roller Brake Testing Rules?

Are We Ready For the New Roller Brake Testing Rules?

It’s been a long time coming, but are we ready for the new roller brake testing rules? The amended procedures and criteria around roller brake testing (RBT) of trucks is settled and the industry can move on. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator went through an exhaustive process to get the testing procedure right and consistent.  Read more

Road vs Rail in the Budget

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison seems to reckon it’s road vs rail in the Budget he handed down this week. Increased infrastructure spending was announced as part of Tuesday’s Budget and sees items from the rail freight industry’s wish list getting the green light at the same time as vital spending on new and improved rest areas for trucks get cut back.
Read more

Top Industry Awards

Top Industry Awards

Among those winning top industry awards at the recent Trucking Australia 2018 event were Ross Fraser, Frances Ross and Boral Driver, Barry Fitzgerald.

NTIA Winners copy Read more

Getting With the Program

Listening to New Voices

This week some people in the trucking industry and even some from the regulators are listening to new voices on the subject of fatigue. The event in question is the Fatigue Hack-a-thon which is being held in parallel to the Australian Trucking Association’s annual Truck Australia conference, which is being held in Canberra this week. Read more

Trucking Industry Awards Nominations

Trucking Industry Awards Nominations

This week, the National Trucking Industry Awards nominations were made by the Australian Trucking Association. The awards are designed to recognise businesses and individuals who have gone above and beyond to improve their workplace and contribute to the trucking industry.


“The finalists for these awards have demonstrated exceptional dedication to the Australian trucking industry through their hard work and commitment,” said Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair. “These awards are a highlight of not only the Trucking Australia conference, but the whole year and I look forward to the announcement of the winners next month,” he said.


The 2018 National Trucking Industry Awards finalists are:


Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry:


Trucking Industry Awards Nominations


David Smith, D & S Smith Haulage, has worked in the transport industry for more than 40 years as a driver, business owner, and industry leader. He is President of the LRTASA, on the ATA board, and former President of the ALRTA.


Frances Ross, R & A Ross Transport, founded Ross Transport in 1975 with her husband Reg. She still oversees office staff while training her granddaughter, True, to one day take over the family business. She has taken part in the i98FM Illawarra Convoy since 2005, helping raise $11.5 million for the local community.


Ross Fraser OAM, Frasers Livestock Transport, has been involved in the transport industry for more than 50 years, he was a founding member of the ALRTA and LTAQ, former chair of the ATA. In 2009, Ross was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the livestock transport industry and the community of Warwick.



National Professional Driver of the Year Award:


Bernard Forssman, Directhaul, has driven for the company for 24 years and been a part of the industry for more than 44 years. He carts aviation fuel along the Stuart Highway and has driven more than 10 million kilometres incident-free.


Mark Waddington, Cannon Logistics, will celebrate 11 years with the company in 2018. He has recorded more than two million incident-free kilometres, and was named 2017 Queensland Trucking Association Professional Driver of the Year.


Barry Fitzgerald, Boral Australia, has been driving trucks for more than 45 years and has spent the last 25 with Boral Logistics, with an unblemished professional record. With Boral Logistics, he was as a member of the Safety Committee for 20 years and was a drivers’ representative on Boral’s Enterprise Bargaining Committee for 16 years.



National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year:


Belinda Polglase is Project Manager at All Purpose Transport and is the 2017 Queensland Trucking Association Trucking Woman of the Year. She has worked in a range of roles, including the organisation of ‘Project APT’, an initiative to skill the organisation’s entire workforce in a Certificate III or higher nationally recognised qualification.


Breanee Turner, is a Heavy Vehicle Trainer and Assessor with Cove Training. She educates students on heavy vehicle safety and identifies the training needs of both individuals and organisations. She has worked in many fields, including as a truck driver, occupational health and safety adviser, and health and safety representative.


Coralie Chapman, is Transport Supervisor at Linfox Australia and has worked in road transport for more than 18 years. She has been on the Transport Women Australia board since 2016 and was made secretary last year.


Trucking Industry Awards Nominations


National Training Excellence Award:


The Australian Furniture Removers Association was founded in 1993 as the official body of removals experts that helps regulate the removals industry. More than 350 companies across the country are AFRA members and all are educated by qualified trainers to the AFRA professional minimal standards. They have developed a new initiative moving towards their own Learning Management System.


Brown & Hurley commenced in-house technical training in 2008, before officially opening its own purpose built technical training facility in 2012. The facility is equipped with a classroom with 12 computer stations, a Cummins certified technical trainer and a training shop that is fitted with the same tools used in the working environment.


Hopkins Transport employs 20 drivers transporting delicate livestock. The company introduced the driver training program ‘Enhanced Driving Skills’ in October 2016 and has had a 100 percent participation rate from all staff members, including company owners.


Trucking Industry Awards Nominations


TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award:


SRT Logistics, from Tasmania, has been operating for more than 25 years, providing dry grocery logistics and warehousing services interstate and across the Bass Strait. The family owned and run business has been a member of TruckSafe since 2009 and has developed experience in designing, implementing and managing complex high and low volume supply chains.


JJ Lawson Transport has developed a reputation for dedicated personal service in the customs clearance, freight and transport industry. A member of TruckSafe since 2002, JJ Lawson staff are highly trained in all aspects of the business.


Zarb Road Transport is a family owned business, established in Mackay in 1966. They cart raw and processed products from raw sugar cane, has a full-time workforce of 50 staff and runs a fleet of more than 40 prime movers. Zarb Road Transport is one of the longest running TruckSafe members and has been part of the safety accreditation scheme since 1997.





Trucking Twitterverse Unchained

Trucking Twitterverse Unchained

This week Diesel News brings you the trucking Twitterverse unchained, with bulletins from around the country. We have the NSW Police and their charm offensive, making real progress, there’s a new truck show on the calendar and it doesn’t look like the West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne is going to happen any time soon.

The series of ‘Coffee with a Cop’ events being held at truck stops can be nothing but a good thing, taking the heat out of a relationship which can get a little fraught, between truckies and Traffic Police:

The West Gate Tunnel, if it ever gets built, would make access to Melbourne Port much less contentious for the trucking industry. It would also take the heat out of another fraught relationship, between anti-truck pressure groups, in Yarraville and Maribyrnong, and the truckies running containers in and out of the port:

There’s a new truck show in town next week:

Support EWDs With Reservations

Resistance to EWDs

In a show of resistance to EWDs, and in its submission to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Australian Trucking Association says it does not support the rollout of voluntary electronic work diaries as proposed.


Resistance to EWDs


“We do not support the NHVR’s draft EWD policy framework and standards, because the standards don’t meet the needs of the industry and they focus more on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes,” said Melissa Weller, ATA Safety and Skills Adviser. “The current NHVR draft policy and standards offer insufficient tolerances and no flexibility, leaving drivers exposed to prosecution for inconsequential technical breaches that will have no impact on safety.


“The ATA believes the primary aim of EWDs must be to increase industry safety through better fatigue management by aiding drivers in achieving compliance – not to increase enforcement opportunities.”


The ATA submission on the draft EWD policy framework and standards recommends the NHVR should not proceed with the rollout of voluntary EWDs until:

  • the fatigue regulations have been amended to include realistic EWD tolerances,
  • further action is taken to increase the quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas,
  • the standards are amended so that EWDs do not provide a 28 day list of minor breaches to enforcement officers.
  • a statement has been issued by the NHVR clarifying the meaning of ‘voluntary’ EWD with specific reference to NHVAS, PBS, notice and permit conditions.

Resistance to EWDs


“Technology could play a huge role in guiding and improving business and driver behaviour around fatigue management, but the current system doesn’t include what is known about the science of sleep,” said Ben Maguire, ATA CEO. “The conversation about fatigue must change. Drivers are individuals and fatigue is a biological state. Not everybody functions the same way or has the same health status. Prescribing the exact hours and minutes is no longer showing results.”


Resistance to EWDs


The ATA points out it has initiated a driver fatigue management hackathon, to be held at Trucking Australia in April 2018. This is an opportunity for developers to challenge thinking about driver fatigue management and investigate innovative ideas that can advance the industry and save lives. Trucking Australia delegates will be able to question the developers, apply their practical expertise and select the best idea to take forward.


The ATA’s submission.




Remain Vigilant

Ramping Up the Safety Agenda

Recent events have seen a number of people ramping up the safety agenda, but it shouldn’t need severe criticism from elsewhere to get us fired up. The trucking industry needs to stand together as a single unit on these kinds of issues and present a strong and practical front, backed up by good PR, there is no room for error.


It all started with the road crash statistics from last year. Although relatively low in number, the percentage jump in deaths from accidents involving trucks in NSW was something the anti-trucking  lobby could hang their arguments on.


The first to reply was Urszula Kelly from UC Logistics in WA. She got straight to the point and took down the Sydney Morning Herald article by Ann Williamson. Going through the assertions about trucking not caring about truck and fatigue management, suspect interpretations of fatigue research and the prevalence of productivity-based wages.


Urszula really hit the mark when she started to talk about improving the dialogue between the public and the trucking industry. An improved, and consistent, message from trucking is going to dispel misconceptions about how the road transport industry behaves and performs.


She also called for an attempt to change the attitude of those working in the industry to fatigue management. It should not be seen as an imposition, but more as a way to improve health and wellbeing around trucking.


Getting chain of responsibility rules and enforcement right is a major point here. If the implications of unsafe practices around trucks is reflected back on those creating the problems, many of the issues are going to decrease.


Then the Australian Trucking Association announced its involvement with the National Road Safety Partnership Program. The ATA will join the 2018 Re: Act campaign. The focus of the campaign is to improve the safety of young road users when interacting with trucks. Over the next 12 months NRSPP will also feature case studies and webinars of some ATA members.


Furthermore, the ATA called for the the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to be brought in to investigate serious truck crashes. It also recommended spending $4.3 million in the 2018 Budget to set up national databases of coronial recommendations about road safety and serious truck crashes.


Then the big guns joined the fray. Toll puts out a six point plan outlining its ideas on how to cut fatalities. Unfortunately, in reporting the initiative the SMH compounded its earlier error by rolling out a litany of accidents which have occurred on our roads and involving trucks. This was accompanied on the web by videos of burning trucks and a photo of the Mona Vale tanker tragedy from 2013.


Ramping Up the Safety Agenda


However, the SMH did allow us a bit of positive information, ‘Research from National Transport Insurance found in 93 per cent of deaths involving trucks, light vehicle drivers were to blame, underscoring the need for more education of car drivers,’ said the writer, Patrick Begley.


At least we had all of the trucking industry stakeholders singing from the same hymn sheet. We need a lot more of this and the we may get a bit less of the kind of reporting we got from the SMH, burying important safety recommendations under a list of unfortunate events which are neither relevant nor current.