Perhaps many people in the trucking industry are suffering from fatigue fatigue, but now is not the time for slacking off, we need to wake up and get working. There is plenty of work to be done, mainly consultation about the fatigue provisions which will be included in the new Heavy Vehicle National Law, to be premiered next year by the National Transport Commission.
By that time we will also probably be suffering from access fatigue as we continue to bang our heads against the brick wall which is state and local authority intransigence. We can also expect to be suffering from fatigue in some other areas of concern to the trucking industry.
In fact, there is going to be a series of major fatigue issues for people who are involved in lobbying for the trucking industry and those who want to express an opinion on this shape and structure of the new HVNL.
There is an issue paper on safe people and practice due out this month along with another issue paper on safe vehicles. These will be followed by one of the biggies, an issues paper on operator accreditation. These will all be followed by the two final issues papers on managing compliance and ‘other policy matters’.
So it would seem that there are a lot of people involved in trying to get together submissions to address all the issues around all of these topics. This is a vital task which has to be completed now in order for the trucking industry to be able to look forward to a rational set of laws to govern the way that it does its business and how it maintains the safety of its employees and other road users.
These people must be feeling very much like the poor old truck driver who is busily racing around one of our major cities picking up odd pallets here and there, desperately trying to get them loaded, tied down and get out of the city. One of those deliveries maybe slated for a particularly early drop off time in the destination city, so the pressure is on. This is where the key issues start to wear thin for the truckie involved.
The pressure on any driver, whether expressed by the consignor, or the drivers employer or just felt as a social pressure among fellow drivers, can be cranked up. This is where there is a temptation to cut corners, rush load restraint, break the speed limit or tell a few white lies in a work diary.
The pressure is also on for those who will be sending those submissions into the NTC over the next six months. Hopefully, there is no law breaking involved and, although the laws of good English may get stretched a bit. However, their work will have a long term effect, down the track on the safety outcomes in the trucking industry and on highways.
If the review gets the right kind of feedback, and leads to the drafting of a new law which retains the kind of flexibility the trucking industry needs along with the kind of reassurance the regulators need that trucking people are doing the right thing, then everybody will be better off.
However, if we don’t get this right and the trucking industry submissions do not have the desired effect in the drafting of this new legislation, then we all those lose. It affects both the trucking industry and the people working in it, as well as the people who go to the supermarkets to buy their food and drive their cars on our roads.