Reducing the road toll associated with trucking is a multifaceted problem and we need to be smart when finding safe solutions. There is no silver bullet, we need everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and contributing to the overall wide ranging solution.
Judging by the layout of a chart released by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, trucking operators in Australia are going to be spoilt for choice by PBS. There’s plenty of ideas for the industry to get their teeth into and the combinations illustrated may inspire some to come up with further innovations on our roads.
This week has the seen the new face of roadside enforcement unveiled a little more clearly with those representing the different stakeholders in the trucking roadside enforcement game giving us their two bobs worth in Melbourne. The venue was the regular ‘meet the inspectors’ session at the ATA Technical and Maintenance Conference.
So the brave new world of chain of responsibility is with us from the start of this month, it’s finding the pinch points and it’s really starting to bite. No? Well, no surprise there. We have waited around a long time for the CoR laws to find their true target and we can wait a bit longer, as long as they get it right in the end.
Let’s hope October 1 2018 becomes an historic date for the trucking industry. If it works out as hoped, the day will be the point at which genuine responsibility was taken in ensuring there was no undue pressure forcing truck drivers to break the rules to get freight delivered. The day the chain of responsibility started to work properly.
The announcement of a change to the rules governing the transport of hay and supplies in rural areas shows us it takes a major drought to get some common sense on trucking regulations. If it is now OK to load hay on a trailer up to 2.83 metres wide in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, why wasn’t it the case three weeks ago?
This week I sat in on a meeting in Perth of the great and the good in the freight industry and was regularly told how everything is different in WA. As the group ploughed through the problems and possible solutions for trucking in Western Australia I was struck by how similar the problems are that we face all over Australia, not how different they are.
A long running wrangle in Melbourne’s Inner West over truck access should reduce in intensity with the VTA and MTAG able to fix a problem with common sense. The Victorian Transport Association and the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group have sat down together and come up with an agreement to allow accredited trucks more access to the roads around the Port of Melbourne while curtailing access for unaccredited trucks.
Governments are very good at making promises, not so good, sometimes, on delivering on promises. This week Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister, talking at the NatRoad Conference in Hamilton Island delivered on and added to the promise made five years ago to fund roads and parking bays for the trucking industry.
The plan is to introduce a new Heavy Vehicle National Law, once the National Transport Commission has reviewed it, but wouldn’t it be better to go about fixing the real problem? The statements by industry stakeholders show little faith the new law will solve our current issues.