With this morning’s announcement of a couple of electronic work diaries having been passed and certified by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, we have come to the end of a long and winding road through the intricacies of government approval for a safety related device.
I was sat in the room two and a half years ago as the NHVR told us they were embarking on the process to get an EWD into the market, and can’t believe how long it has been before the first two devices have managed to put their heads above the parapet.
At that time, back in 2018, the expectation was that an EWD would be available by September (2018). Lots of the telematics suppliers already had working EWDs but did not have certification for them to replace log books. It seemed it would be a matter of just adding in a few tweaks and bingo.
The whole process seems to have got lost down a series of rabbit holes and clearly there were some security issues identified by those doing the approval, that the telematics providers were either unaware of, or found difficult to overcome.
Let’s hope everyone is on the same page now, because there is going to be a lot more certification of devices needing to be done in the next few years and we don’t want them to also travel down a long and winding road.
If the changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law play out as expected, then fatigue monitoring and prevention devices are going to be in need of approval in order to give operators regulatory relaxation of some fatigue-related rules. If the approval process follows on anything like the EWD process, the level of frustration will increase considerably.
There are also devices now being used in some states which monitor mass and record potential breaches, which, if fitted, allow operators to run at higher masses on some roads. If this mass monitoring is also bound to go through a similar approval process as the EWD, and the delays are similar, frustration will go up several more notches.
Let’s hope lessons have been learned on all sides during this EWD process and these lessons speed up any future approval projects.