The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has re-elected David Simon as its chairman for a second term. He was elected unopposed at the association’s annual general meeting in Canberra.
David is the managing director of Simon National Carriers and has a deep understanding of the industry both as an operator and at an association level. He was first elected chairman of the ATA in 2010, after many years of experience on the ATA board of management, general council and as part of the Queensland Trucking Association.
Upon being re-elected as ATA chairman, David said his priorities would be the national heavy vehicle regulator and laws, truck charges and the need for action on sleep disorders.
“Last year, the ATA and state road agencies identified more than 1000 issues with the draft national truck laws. These ranged from serious issues of principle – for example, trucking company directors and executives are presumed guilty under the laws until they can prove their innocence – through to simple drafting errors,” Simon remarked. “With the support of our members, we convinced Australia’s transport ministers to develop a second piece of legislation to fix some of the problems with the first.
“One of my key goals this year will be to get as many of those problems fixed as possible, so the industry and community can reap the potential safety and productivity benefits of this important national reform.”
He went on to say that the ATA would also need to continue campaigning on heavy vehicle charges. Australia’s transport ministers have agreed to increase the fuel tax on trucks by 10.4 percent from July 1 and many registration charges will also rise.
“To put it mildly, we’re not happy with the outcome. The increase in the fuel tax and many registration charges will be a huge blow for trucking businesses that are already on the margin,” he stated, adding that the ATA would also need to make action on sleep disorders a priority.
“The ATA has previously argued that the commercial driver medical standards should include an objective test for sleep disorders, as well as the existing Epworth sleepiness questionnaire. We argued this because we know that sleep disorders often go undetected.
“Our advice was not taken up by the National Transport Commission – but this week, the international health journal Sleep published a report that confirmed we were right.
“The report showed that 40 percent of Australian truck drivers are likely to have undiagnosed sleep apnoea; but only 12 percent reported sleep problems on the questionnaire used in medicals.
“Sleep apnoea is a major problem with important safety implications. It’s one of the key issues I raised when I became chairman of the ATA. It needs to be a priority for 2012,” he concluded.
David Simon’s report to the ATA annual general meeting can be viewed at www.truck.net.au/public/about-ata/2011-annual-report.