TWU

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

Release date: 10/02/2014

Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon today (10/2/14) said the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which starts operations today, would not address the economic pressures on drivers which were the major cause of speeding, fatigue and poor maintenance.

“We welcome national uniformity across the road transport industry,” Mr Sheldon said. “But we need to go further to achieve uniform safety standards and procedures.
 
“This industry needs national uniformity on Safe Rates to stop incentives for drivers and companies to engage in unsafe practices and to make sure that every operator is able to safely maintain their vehicle.
 
“The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) is the only body that has the capacity to address the economic causes of unsafe practices that result in unfair pressures on drivers to speed, skip rest breaks or delay maintenance to meet impossible deadlines from major clients like Coles.”
 
A 2012 industry survey showed that 26% of truck drivers in the Coles supply chain are pressured to speed to meet delivery deadlines, 46% skip rest breaks and 40% delay vehicle maintenance because of economic pressure.
 
In a submission to the RSRT former New South Wales truck driver Keith McGuickan revealed that trip bonuses are paid to drivers who complete inter-state runs faster than normal driving times, “They admit that they did not take any rest breaks...then do a return drive to the depot that evening and the same process begins again,” said Mr McGuickan.
 
“Supporting the work of the RSRT to ensure Safe Rates for every driver is the most effective way to save lives,” said Mr Sheldon.
 
According to the National Transport Commission (NTC), every year around 330 people die on Australian roads in heavy vehicle accidents.
 
“Simply increasing fines for drivers and transport companies only increases the economic burden they bear and does nothing to reduce the economic pressure to push the limits,” said Mr Sheldon.
 
“Numerous reports, including from the NTC, have made the link between economic pressure and incentives to engage in unsafe practices.
 
“What Australians expect is action to prevent truck-related crashes. That’s why we need the RSRT, it’s designed to get to the root of the problem by addressing the economic imbalance in the industry.
 
“It’s time the Abbott Government steps back from its attack on the RSRT and starts supporting the work of the Tribunal to deliver Safe Rates for all truck drivers and safer roads for all Australians.


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