Driver training methods need overhaul: DECA

By: Jason Whittaker


There are calls for national licensing methods to be overhauled to cope with the skills shortage crisis hitting the transport

There are calls for national licensing methods to be overhauled to cope with the skills shortage crisis hitting the transport industry.

Managing Director of Driver Education Centre of Australia (DECA) Training Ian Bushby says the current heavy rigid, heavy combination and multi combination has resulted in an exodus of potential drivers in recent years because they see the system as too arduous.

Adding to the problem is the fact heavy and multi combination vehicle registrations have grown more than 47 percent the last 20 years, meaning there are a lot more articulated trucks but not enough drivers to operate them.

Under the present licensing program, drivers must have a car licence for two years before applying for a heavy rigid licence. They then must hold a heavy rigid licence for at least 12 months before applying for a heavy or multi combination licence.

Bushby wants the 12 month stipulation cut in half, so those with a heavy rigid licence can gain a heavy combination licence in six months after completing an approved training course.

The same process would apply for those wanting to move from a heavy combination to a multi combination vehicle.

According to Bushby, an accelerated process will not result in unskilled drivers because the training programs will be conducted under national guidelines already agreed to at all levels of government and industry.

"Accelerating people through the system would help ease the chronic shortage of drivers would help ease the chronic shortage of drivers at the articulated end and road safety would improve as trainees completed more rigorous training and assessment," he says.

As trucks are responsible for delivering necessary goods such as groceries and building supplies, Bushby says training methods must be overhauled as soon as possible.
"The sector is vital for Australia’s economic future," he says.

"Every day, every Australian makes use of the industry. Everything they buy has been transported at some time by road."

DECA runs six training centres in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. It provides training services to governments, industry and individuals in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

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