Steve Post is Founder and President of Transafe WA, formed in 2012 as a not-for-profit industry initiative with the vision of aiding the delivery of safer transport industry workplaces and roads by fostering and promoting safer practices, including the increasing number of electronic safety devices available on the modern truck.
Post looks forward to the day when everything in the truck is electronic. A time when the driver doesn’t have to look at his fatigue record, but will actually be told by the system in the truck when he needs to take a break.
Drivers could be warned when a dangerous intersection or piece of road is coming up and approaching it. Intercepted by the authorities, they simply hand a tablet to the roadside officer to check if it complies with the law.
“I am astounded, having been to New Zealand a few times in the last few years, many combinations running around with quad axles,” said Post. “The word I get back in my home state of Western Australia is that they will ruin the roads. Well, I’m no a road engineer, but looking at the roads in New Zealand, they are probably not as good in most cases as what we have got. I saw no sign of deterioration on roads in comparison to the standards they have in New Zealand.”
By reducing the traffic on the road, Post argues, there is an improvement in safety, and the environment. Removing trucks on the road leads to a reduction in emissions to meet the standards required of the trucking industry.
“There are good drivers and bad drivers and I know we are the first ones to cop flak, when something goes wrong with driver conduct,” said Post. “Many of the people I have known in the industry over many years are outstanding drivers.
“The small minority of drivers who create problems create a bad image for the industry. I think, as a reward to drivers, now this is something I am throwing out there, but a driver who has a very good record and has lost very few points over the years should be rewarded by being allowed to drive at those higher masses, so they can go onto the road and become an asset to their employers.
“The bloke who wants to be an idiot? Well, he is going to get pushed to the back of the queue and won’t receive the rewards those dedicated and committed professional drivers deserve.”
Post points to technologies used in Europe, like stretch braking from Volvo, which applies the brakes from the rear of the combination in an emergency and helps create a much more stable braking application for the vehicle to stop.
“Safe and sustainable rates is an issue,” said Post. “I think the RSRT was absolutely deplorable, but I think if we miss an opportunity to get something which could actually assists in that area. I’m not an expert, I don’t have the answer to safe and sustainable rates. We live in a private enterprise democracy with government policy that we doesn’t control rates, that they are out there and market forces apply.
“Speaking as someone who was formerly a subbie. We need a form of binding agreement between the prime contractor and the sub-contractor, which nominates the rate, terms of payment and it should be a standardised document which could be across the nation.
“I’m not saying this is all common sense, but I am saying we should have this policy that your requirement is to provide a safe workplace. I think that is something that could be looked at by having a binding agreement between a prime contractor and a subbie. If, for whatever reason, a sub-contractor has a major incident with someone seriously hurt or killed, if it goes to court, people can establish whether that rate was actually safe and sustainable and did it help create that crash.”