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“Heavy vehicle drivers consistently report that the quality and location of many rest areas is not adequate, compromising the ability to utilise them and to meet the demands of driving hours regulations.” ( 2005 - NTC National Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities)
The Trucking Industry for well over 2 decades has researched, formulated submissions, lobbied and debated the topic of Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas, or rather the lack of Rest Areas, and here we are in 2019 with Heavy vehicle drivers consistently reporting that the quality and location of many rest areas is not adequate, compromising the ability to utilise them and to meet the demands of driving hours regulations.!!
Not only do they need Rest Areas to comply with Work and Rest laws, but more importantly and essentially to Rest and Revive instead of driving whilst Fatigued.
Rest Areas will again feature in “tackling the big issues” at the Trucking Australia 2019 conference in Perth.
And in January, Austroads released the re-vamped version of the 2005 National Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Areas.
HV Rest Areas is a perennial issue that has plans, guidelines and in some cases legislation in place, but after 20 years of submissions, discussion papers, surveys, research and government promises, slow progress has not adequately and efficiently addressed the long term situation of insufficient Rest Areas. Drivers just need an available decent place to stop, rest, revive and survive – sooner rather than later.
We do acknowledge that new Rest Areas have been provided over the years, but the fact remains the industry has lost more Rest Areas than gained yet the freight task has increased.
Some of the Rest Areas were built without trucking industry consideration and cannot be used by the commercial Heavy Vehicle industry. (Plus not to mention the travelling public using HV Rest Areas as overnight camping sites, some local councils closing areas at night and Rest Areas used as Inspection sites or for Road Base storage).
22 years ago, in 1997 the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Development posed the first step in developing a nationally consistent approach to roadside Rest Areas on National Highways through the release of a Discussion Paper on National Highway Rest Area Policy. This paper briefly summarised the status of Rest Areas policy development in each state and provided a description of state expenditure on Rest Areas maintenance and new developments. It provided preliminary discussion on issues relating to Rest Areas signage, public education, truck drivers needs and the provision of other opportunities for drivers to stop and rest.
14 years ago, in 2005 the National Transport Commission (then the NRTC) developed the National Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities.
The NTC undertook a project to examine road agency guidelines and practices on the provision of rest areas in rural areas and to propose modifications necessary to cater for the needs of heavy vehicle drivers in non-urban areas.
The NTC guidelines (2005) were based on the then current best practice and taking into account reviews of rest areas in several Australian jurisdictions.
From the 2005 Guidelines……
2.2 Managing Fatigue
In order to manage fatigue, and meet the current driving hours regulations, drivers need the opportunity to take rest breaks (both major and minor) while enroute, either on the side of the road or at a designated rest area. Therefore, it is essential that rest areas be appropriately located and provide adequate facilities to assist drivers in managing their fatigue, and to meet current (and future) driving hours regulation requirements.
2.3 Safe Workplace Practices
The move towards ‘chain of responsibility’ in the road transport arena means that company managers, consignors and drivers each have a responsibility towards the promotion of safe work practices.
The provision of adequate rest areas and the promotion of their use can help employees in the heavy vehicle industry carry out their work safely, meeting company and workplace goals within prescribed driving hour regulations.
Spacing Intervals in the 2005 Guidelines.
The majority of Australian polices specify that the average spacing between Truck Parking Bays or Stopping Places should be around 40--60km, with the spacing intervals in remote regions around 80km. In comparison, the spacing intervals for Truck Pullovers in New South Wales are considerably smaller, with intervals of 10--15km proposed on primary traffic routes.
This year, in January, Austroads released the “Guidelines for the provision of heavy vehicle rest areas”.
The new Guidelines is an updated version to the 2005 National Transport Commission Guidelines incorporating ‘A Proposed HVRA Needs and Prioritisation Methodology’, published by Austroads in 2012.
“Application of the Guidelines by road managers will assist the freight industry to support safe heavy vehicle operations while meeting their requirements within the prescribed heavy vehicle driving hours regulatory framework.”
Industry lead initiative - Green Reflectors (Originally trialled as Blue reflectors over a decade ago)
NSW originally conducted a 5 year trial of the reflector 3-2-1 system on the Newell Highway between Gilgandra and Parkes with approx. 35 heavily used informal truck rest areas marked using a system of reflectors.
In Queensland, the Dept Transport and MainRoads Border District conducted a blue reflector trial involving about 68 sites on highways in the Warwick area and on several sites in the Goondiwindi and Toowoomba areas.
In the Northern Territory, a trial was conducted involving unofficial truck parking bays between Katherine and Tennant Creek.
Crash data for the Newell Highway trial showed that there has been a reduction in heavy vehicle crashes on the trialled section of highway over the course of the trial, compared with the rest of the highway, however the NTC view the results as being not of statistical significance.
Rod Hannifey, well known Industry Safety Advocate has recently been featured in the NHVR promotion of Informal truck rest area markings for a place to Rest, Revive, Survive - Green Reflectors.
Rod is the original driving force behind the trialled Blue Reflector concept. (now Green reflectors) and has successfully promoted the Green Reflector concept across Australia for many years.
Transport Certification Australia (TCA) recently announced it has available usable truck rest area data available with the release of digitised informal rest area information through the Traveller Information Exchange (TIX). This second instalment of consolidated heavy vehicle rest area information is the first time that information about informal rest areas, identified by green reflectors, has been digitised.
The QTA has for many years supported and lobbied for more Formal and Informal Rest Areas and upgrades to existing locations
From 2009 to 2011, the QTA participated in a joint project with DTMR and NTI which saw Bill Manton (formerly Simon National Carriers), Owen Driscoll (formerly NTI) and representatives from Queensland Transport (DTMR) take to the roads across QLD to GPS log and record available locations suitable for Informal and Formal Rest Areas. The QTA assisted with facilitation and support of the project which did see some upgrades to Rest Areas and documentation of possible green reflector rest area locations.
Last year the QTA ran a newsletter article on the QLD Government safety upgrade to the Burnett Highway which has 21 sites marked with the Informal Rest Area Green Reflector system.
Informal Rest Areas, while very welcome by industry as the quickest and cheapest option to provide safe stopping places for Heavy Vehicle Drivers, mainly on inland freight routes, there still remains the fatigue factor and inadequate HV Rest Areas between capital cities and major centres.
Managing Driver Fatigue, Road Safety, and Compliance with the law is imperative to our industry. Sensible and adequate locations for Drivers to Stop, Rest and Revive are essential to the health and wellbeing of our drivers who work and live on the road. Rest Areas for Heavy Vehicle drivers are important Road Safety Infrastructure. Strategies to incorporate Rest Areas into Road construction planning is vital as is the commitment of governments to follow through with promises to build Formal Rest Areas or provide more Green Reflector 3-2-1 locations.
(Transporter E-News, Issue 8, 8/3/19)
The motorised road transport industry has been around for about 110 years or so and has adapted too many disruptions over those years. While there is a lot of focus on autonomous vehicles and other high potential technology, what is more often not acknowledged in our community, is the high level of sophistication in our supply chains that mobilise freight in all its forms from origin to the end user.
The road transport industry is clever, sophisticated and a vital ingredient to a world class economy. Truck drivers are the highly valuable link in the supply chain. To ensure the future of this industry, attracting young people to a driving career is critical.
There are many reforms necessary to develop a more formal career pathway for drivers and through the VET 4 T&L program we support these ongoing reforms and operations of the vocational education and training system across the road transport, passenger transport, logistics, rail, aviation and maritime sectors. The industry is currently experiencing survey fatigue with an overwhelming amount of government departments and consultancy companies requesting feedback on the same themes - skills shortages, future skills needs and opinions on current training programs. What the industry really needs, is action to be taken to solve the issues that have been trending for many years now, with the key issue being – where do we find truck drivers?
With the announcement late last year of a federal review of the VET system in Australia, it is an opportune time to lobby for reforms of the vocational and education system that reflect industry demand driven needs and frameworks that are ‘fit for purpose’ for industry.
We acknowledge the work our colleagues in the VTA are doing to move Victoria’s interest towards competency based training. However, we are still inhibited by artificial age barrier and insurance limitations to better attract young people to a road transport driving career. The inhibiting factor to finding more drivers is not only about the age based licencing pathway, but how newly licenced drivers get actual on-road experience.
Just days ago, a recent article that came out of the US sparked my interest, on the introduction of companion, bipartisan bills of the US Congress and Senate that will help address their nation’s growing shortage of truck drivers. (link)
It shows how serious their lawmakers are about addressing the shortage with common-sense solutions. These bills enjoy support of both sides of politics, with a growing understanding across the country that the impact of this issue reaches far beyond just trucking and commercial vehicles. It is a strain on the entire supply chain, from the manufacturers and producers on down to retail and the end consumer, who will see higher prices in the stores.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) is a member of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition, co-led by ATA and the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and includes the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies.
See also: DRIVE Safe myth v. fact
The DRIVE Safe Act will allow heavy vehicle drivers who are already permitted to drive at 18 years of age, the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety training for emerging members of the workforce.
The DRIVE Safe Act will help train younger drivers far and above current standards. Under the legislation, once a driver has met the requirements to obtain their licence, they would begin a two-step program of additional training that includes a number of performance benchmarks each candidate must demonstrate competency in. In addition, they would be required to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with NTSB-endorsed safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing video event capture and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour.
Significantly, all of these post-licence L training, safety, and technology standards under the DRIVE Safe Act would be required on top of all the pre-licence training benchmarks that new drivers will be required to satisfy when the Entry Level Driver Training Rule goes in to effect in February 2020, which includes 59 different topics of knowledge and behind-the-wheel training for Class A licence applicants.
As an industry, road safety is always on our minds. Undoubtedly, this is a well-considered initiative being adopted in the USA and warrants serious consideration by our governments. Our future depends on renewal and broadening the labour market with reforms such as this to benefit both road transport and the broader economy.
Harness our experience and we can deliver a step change to improve safety and the viability of the road transport industry.
Chief Executive Officer
QTA Transporter E-News issued 5/2/19
This Flood Information Bulletin was received from the Department of Transport & Main Roads. This bulletin was issued Friday 1 February at 4.45pm and contains Flood Recovery Road Access Group information, Contact numbers and information details. Details here.
QTA Industrial Alert - Natural Disasters and Employee Entitlements (01.02.2019)
Following from the recommendations of the Best Practice Work Health and Safety Review, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) recently released a new Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Policy (the Policy). The Policy is framed to provide a detailed and systematic statement of how the Regulator will deliver increased Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) compliance measures. The Policy aims to enable WHSQ to use ‘credible deterrents’ to stop duty holders contravening work health and safety legislation.
The implementation of the new policy will involve the Regulator identifying priority safety risks, looking at the duty holder’s history of non-compliance, the degree of safety risk and the availability of safety guidance material. The Regulator’s priority list will be available on the Worksafe website soon we understand. Inspectors will have a greater focus on these priority areas when conducting safety visits.
The Policy has a major focus on ensuring duty holders comply with ‘Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP)’, also published on the Worksafe website.
The Policy highlights the deterrent effect of increased WHS sanctions such as infringement notices, prosecution and licence suspensions, cancellations or amendments. There are currently 240 infringement notice offences, but the Regulator will periodically identify priority areas of enforcement within these, reflecting prevalent and emerging health and safety risks.
Duty holders should expect increased:-
In respect of WHSQ safety blitz visits, Inspectors will only give prior notice of these visits where advance entry notice would not compromise the purpose of the visit.
The Policy urges duty holders to develop ‘sustainable systematic management’ systems which place higher safety control on the management of workplaces. The Policy states that Inspectors can use these systems to assess workplace risks, and where the systems are not complied with, can use enforcement options to secure compliance. Improvement notices will now be given for ‘systematic management failure’ of a workplace.
We expect the Policy to create a practice by Inspectors tilted towards the issuance of significantly more enforcement notices rather than so called soft regulatory practices like education and warnings. We expect improvement and prohibition notices to play an increased evidentiary role in any subsequent prosecution litigation. In other words, the notices will be used as evidence of the duty holder being aware about the particular safety issue and allegedly failing to take action in time to prevent a serious incident (click here to see an example).
If you have any questions in relation to this alert, please contact Matthew Smith or Damian Hegarty.
Level 36, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
T +61 7 3013 2700 F +61 7 3003 0788
141218-QTA.POB.NHVR HV-SAP Media Release.pdf
151108 - Lindsay Australia Tragic Incident.pdf