More than 430 of Australia’s truck drivers have had their voices heard in the national truck law review, thanks to a strong campaign led by the Australian Trucking Association and Big Rigs National Transport Newspaper.
The Voice of the Driver campaign was launched in September, following the release of the Heavy Vehicle National Law review Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), and aimed to amplify the voice of Australia’s truck drivers.
“Focused on gathering feedback from truck drivers on the options in the RIS for changing the fatigue laws, the campaign gave drivers the opportunity to share their views in an easily accessible way, through an online survey and social media posts,” Acting CEO of the ATA Bill McKinley said.
“Throughout the six week campaign, we received 432 survey responses and a social media reach of more than 46,000,” he said.
Big Rigs editor James Graham said it was encouraging to see such a great response from truckies to the online campaign with the ATA.
“Without doubt there is no bigger issue for our readers on the eastern seaboard than the need to revamp the rules around work diaries and fatigue management,” said Mr Graham.
“I’m intrigued to see how this feedback is now taken on board. The drivers have spoken; let’s hope the authorities keep listening,” he said.
The survey results highlight that overall, Australia’s truck drivers support of the proposed new laws, especially when it comes to simplifying record keeping.
“Current work diaries and rules are far too complicated. The pressure that is currently on drivers with all the paperwork they have to do is unbelievable, and anything to make their life easier so they can concentrate on the road and other things is a good thing,” a survey respondent said.
Meanwhile, another respondent highlighted the importance of giving drivers increased autonomy in managing their own fatigue.
“We need a system that encourages drivers to manage their fatigue in a flexible way. Fatigue issues can’t be solved through regulations,” the survey respondent said.
The survey responses also highlighted the importance of stronger medical standards.
“Current fitness to drive is basically a tick and flick. It must be more thorough to identify underlying health problems such as sleep apnoea,” one respondent said.
Mr McKinley said the ATA had already provided the feedback gathered through the survey to the NTC, NHVR and state governments.
“We are accurately and fairly representing those who are dealing with these issues on a day-to-day basis,” Mr McKinley said.
“We thank Australia’s truck drivers for taking the time to share their valuable contribution,” he said.
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