I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but every time we think we have taken a pace forward, RMS pops up and takes us back. This time the, consistent, Roads and Maritime Services in NSW seem to have wound back the clock to the days when all the rules in each state were different.
The bone of contention this time? The ridiculous assertion heavy haulage drivers using dollies need an MC license to drive a semi trailer. This is an issue which was under discussion, but the RMS seem to have decided to be pedantic and start giving tickets to those drivers who fail to comply. This requirement will not apply to visiting drivers from states who do allow the holders of HC licences to drive dolly/low loader combinations, but will force all heavy haul operators in NSW to ensure their drivers have an MC license in order to drive a semi using a dolly.
As of yesterday, Road Freight NSW’s General Manager, Jodie Broadbent, issued an urgent warning to operators to be aware the RMS had decided to end the moratorium on enforcement yesterday.
“As you know, RFNSW has been working with NSW RMS in an attempt to resolve a long-standing issue with the licensing requirements for the drivers of combinations including low loader dollies,” said Jodie, in the notice. “RMS takes the view that the driver of a dolly/low loader combination vehicle must hold an MC licence.
“RFNSW secured a moratorium on the enforcement of this requirement, initially until 30 September 2015. We believed the moratorium would continue on an ongoing basis. We have now been advised that RMS will enforce the requirement to hold an MC licence from today, October 1 2015.”
This seems to be wrong in so many ways. It’s funny, these sticks being thrown into the bike wheel of national consistency always come from the RMS at the same time as the National Heavy Vehicle regulator announces progress in the drive for national consistency.
The RMS had already agreed to a moratorium until this issue was sorted out. This suggests the judgement was made road safety would not be compromised by allowing HC license holders to drive low loaders with dollies. How come that is not the case this month? Plus, the interstate drivers have been deemed safe, even though they only hold an HC.
Unfortunately, the only conclusion we can come to is mischief making. Perhaps, the whole of NSW is throwing a hissy fit because they don’t have a team in either of the grand finals this weekend!