Driver Drug Testing by Fingerprint

New culture in RMS

The new inclusive culture, espoused by leadership in Transport for NSW and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in recent times, seems to be finally filtering down to the roadside in face to face dealings with truckies. The new culture seems to be taking the sting out of an ongoing issue, namely, the issuing of defects by roadside enforcement officers during checks.

 

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“Members have told me that Inspectors at Marulan, in particular, have been taking the time to talk to operators and specify exactly why a defect has been issued,” said Emma Higginson, Executive Director of the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association. “This greatly assists operators by not having to play a guessing game when they get back to the depot, visit a mechanic etc. and importantly allows them to get back on the road sooner.

 

“It is also very pleasing from a culture perspective. The simple process of taking the time to explain why enforcement action has been taken goes a long way to increasing respect between both parties and provides greater assistance to the operator on what to look out for going forward.”

 

Changes like this are long overdue. Operator complaints about the opaque defect notices system and the difficulty in getting those defects cleared is a continuing issue in all of the states. Perhaps this glimmer of light will help oil the wheels on both sides of the divide and lead to a more civilised conversation on the roadside.

 

Nobody wants a row with the authorities and they are only doing their job, but it has been the arrogant and inflexible attitude of some roadside enforcement which has turned up the wick on conflict. Let’s hope this is not just a short term improvement, but a real change in culture which can lead to a more co-operative attitude, on both sides, when trucks are pulled in for inspection at checking stations like Marulan.

 

Where does trucking stand after the budget?

After many days of claims, counter-claims, disinformation and general information overload, the picture around future taxation and funding affecting the trucking industry has become clearer. The news appears to be good with no major changes feared by the industry coming to fruition, for now! Read more

More surprises from NSW

After reverting to type following the Mona Vale tanker crash last year, the NSW Ministry of Roads appears to be returning to the kind of inclusive and transparent organisation it has become since the O’Farrell (and now Baird) Government came into power at the last election, in 2011.

 

The latest opportunity for the stakeholders to have some real feedback into strategy and policy from Transport NSW and the Roads and Maritime Services is a call for those interested to provide input for the Newell Highway Corridor Strategy.

 

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“If your community wants additional overtaking lanes to improve travel times and road safety, I want to hear about it,” said NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay. “If your retail shops want a town bypass to take trucks off your main street I want to hear about it. If your regional trucking companies need more rest areas along the Newell, I want to hear about it. Importantly, I want to see this local information and feedback included in the final strategy document.”

 

A draft strategy has been published and is available at the Transport NSW website. Submissions and suggestions need to be sent to NewellHighwayStrategy@transport.nsw.gov.au by June 20.

 

Unlike many of these calls for comment in the past, this one may well be worth reacting to. There is more funding available for road building from our ‘Infrastructure’ Prime Minister and the Newell has been identified as one of the key Australian roads in need of improvement.

New CEO into the hot seat

A new CEO for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been announced. Sal Petroccitto will start work in the new job as of May 19. He replaces Richard Hancock, who resigned suddenly a couple of months ago.

 

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Acting CEO of the NHVR, Melinda Bailey, has been holding the fort since Hancock’s departure and she has received thanks from the NHVR Board for her sterling work during a difficult period for the regulator.

 

The trucking industry will be hoping Petroccitto will be a steady hand on the tiller as the NHVR ploughs through some choppy waters. Since coming fully online on February 10, the national permit system has been floundering as a result of lack of preparation and state antipathy to the new regime, although other aspects of the NHVR task have been working effectively.

 

Since 2009, Petroccitto has been involved with the trucking industry and its issues at Queensland Transport and Main Roads, spending most of the past two years as General Manager, Roads, Rail and Ports System Management at Department of Transport & Main Roads. He is also the Queensland Government representative on the NHVR Project Implementation Board and the Board of Transport Certification Australia.

 

With this experience, he is clearly au fait with the issues facing the fledgling regulator. His job will be to steady the ship and maintain enough forward movement to ensure the reforms so badly needed by road transport will go ahead. A relatively quiet six months along with demonstrable progress should keep up momentum and restore some confidence in the NHVR and its Board.

Duncan Gay, Freight Minister

As a result of the reshuffle in the New South Wales cabinet caused by the shock resignation of Premier, Barry O’Farrell last week, Duncan Gay’s position vis-a-vis the freight industry has been reinforced. The former Minister for Roads in the O’Farrell government is now to be the Minister for Roads and Freight in the new Mike Baird government, as announced today. Read more

NHVR regroups

After the severe storm surrounding the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator since the New Year, the fledgling government agency has managed to take a breath and reassess the situation in the wake of the permit issuing debacle and the subsequent resignation of CEO, Richard Hancock.

 

The organisation now seems to be setting out to reaffirm its place in the regulatory set-up by demonstrating just what functions it currently handles and which ones it will take over in the future. The latest information bulletin from Acting CEO, Melinda Bailey, definitely carries a ‘back to business’ message, moving the debate away from the hysterical hype of earlier in the year.

 

“Despite the difficulties, I would like to stress that commitment to the NHVR remains strong,” said Bailey in the Industry Update. “Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP, has reaffirmed his support and stressed the government is not going to walk away. Many industry associations have also expressed their ongoing support.”

 

Bailey goes on to list the areas where the NHVR is functioning effectively and working behind the scenes to achieve some rationality in the national regulatory situation for the trucking industry.

 

Access pre-approvals are being registered, whereby road managers agree to approve a route for a particular type of vehicle, removing the need to seek approval for every truck of similar type. 205 pre-approvals have been registered, so far. This work will need to continue for some time but will have the effect of speeding up both permit and PBS approvals in the future.

 

The work of harmonising the permits and notices already existing from around the country was slowed by protracted negotiations between the NHVR and the States but is another vital cog in the wheel to get faster approvals and rationality in the system.

 

NHVR have been in full control of the Performance Based Standards system for over a year and the process appears to be bedding down well, with 57 designs for 140 trucks approved so far this year.

 

The real test for the success of the NHVR venture is how it filters down to the roadside interface between the trucking industry and the enforcement arm of the regulator. Changes are already happening with the dropping of the requirement to carry paperwork proving accreditation in mass or maintenance schemes. As the process filters through more change should become evident.

 

Many of these new arrangements should have been in place well before the NHVR took over full control of the system but it is, instead, playing catch-up now. Whether the tight timetable for establishment, state intransigence or both were to blame, the road transport industry is just looking for some clear air to move forward and some clarity on when the system will be fully up and running.

Talking Turkey About Trucking

No redress for Blenners

We all know the world can be unfair, at times, but the situation Blenners Transport is in demonstrates just how hard it is to get any justice when sensationalism in the media comes into play, when associated with the trucking industry. Having your name plastered all over an exposé of the evils of the trucking industry is bad news and there is no redress when many of the accusations are found to be unwarranted. Read more

Terry Nolan, trucking industry icon

Today, the passing of Terry Nolan has been announced. Terry, and his wife Daph, were instrumental in many developments in the trucking industry, over the years, as the owners of Nolans Interstate Transport. Read more

He’s a trucking hero!

The inaugural Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award has been officially handed to Brad Morrison in a small ceremony at the Australian Trucking Association stand at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne, today.

 

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On November 14 last year, Brad Morrison came upon the scene of a tragic accident on the Cunningham Highway near Aratula in Queensland which had left a young mother unconscious and both her and her baby trapped in a burning car.

 

Brad was able to get through the flames, smoke and fuel surrounding the scene to rescue the 10 month old girl from the back seat. An explosion occurred shortly afterwards. Sadly, the mother could not be rescued.

 

The Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award has been created to honour great community service performed by professional truck drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty to assist those around them during the course of their normal work.

 

“I was just past Cunningham’s Gap on the way into Brisbane, I do that run quite a lot, when I got a call over the UHF radio that a truck had gone into the bushes,” said Brad. “I slowed down and came round the bend, expecting to see him just run off the road, and saw a big crash instead, the truck was jack knifed and there was a little car, all on fire.

 

“There was diesel all around from the truck. The crash must have ruptured the main tank, I reckon he’d only just filled up, so there was probably about fifteen hundred litres spilling around. I pulled up and jumped out as quick as I could to see if there was anything I could do to help. As I came up around the back on the little car, I could hear a baby crying.

 

“I just had to get in there, I had to get the baby out.”

 

In presenting the award, Andrew Moffatt, Managing Director of Bridgestone, talked of Brad’s bravery in the face of extreme danger talking volumes for both Brad and the trucking community in general.

 

“While we would like to extend our greatest sympathies to the family, Brad’s quick thinking and decisive action enabled him to save the child at great risk to his own life,” said Noelene Watson. “For these reasons, it is our great pleasure to present Brad with the first Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award.”

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Is the trucking industry ready for new challenges?

Unfortunately, working in the trucking industry, we are destined to always be living in ‘interesting times’. There has never been a time in living memory when people involved in road transport haven’t been lurching from one potential crisis to the next. It’s in the industry’s DNA, the tendency to wait until a problem gets big enough to take drastic action to solve the issue. It’s a bit like the way many of the more traditional truckies run their business. Read more