Governments have got it wrong on IAP: ATA

By: Jason Whittaker

The industry says governments should grant standard vehicles access to the higher mass limits (HML) network and devote more time

The industry says governments should grant standard vehicles access to the higher mass limits (HML) network and devote more time to safety reforms rather than trying to monitor truck movements with the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Stuart St Clair has criticised the New South Wales Government’s decision to open up more of its HML routes in response to last week’s announcement of the first IAP provider, Sigtec.

Although the Government stipulated greater access to HML routes will only be granted to those operators who sign up to IAP, St Clair says standard vehicles should also be included

He says the government proviso is unwarranted because drivers are already operating according to regulations.

"There’s no evidence that trucking operators are breaching their road access conditions on a widespread basis," he says.

"Instead of requiring IAP, the NSW Government should open its HML and higher productivity networks to all trucks that meet the standard conditions needed to protect the road and ensure they are operating safely."

In line with other comments from within the industry, St Clair says IAP will fail in Australia as it did in Europe. He also questions the motives of governments in introducing the technology.

"The state and territory governments are pressing the industry to use this expensive and complicated technology because it is available, not because there is a genuine problem that needs to be addressed," he says.

"The Intelligent Access Program is a classic example of how enthusiasm for a new gadget can sweep aside common sense."

According to St Clair, governments should be paying more attention on reforms to increase safety within the industry rather than devoting time adding to the regulatory burden on the trucking industry.

"It is a complete waste of money to roll out IAP on a broad scale at a time when the states and territories are not paying enough attention to heavy vehicle reforms that will save lives," he says.

"Instead, the states and territories need to focus on better speed management, getting the new fatigue laws right and building more rest areas."

St Clair says IAP should be used only after a driver has deliberately breached access conditions, with governments forcing them to sign up to the program in order to stay on the road.

Under IAP, trucks are fitted with tracking equipment and monitored by a certified provider. The provider notifies the authorities when the trucks breach their road access conditions.

Governments argue IAP is necessary to ensure drivers stick to a set route and do not use bridges or roads that cannot stand up to the weight of heavy vehicles.

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