Govt ignoring call for upgraded stops as fatigue regs approach

By: Jason Whittaker


There is not enough urgency in delivering adequate rest areas for truck drivers in New South Wales, the industry says. The

There is not enough urgency in delivering adequate rest areas for truck drivers in New South Wales, the industry says.

The Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) NSW branch has hit out at the State Government for failing to act on improving rest facilities as new fatigue regulations approach.

"With the approach of the new Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue legislation rapidly approaching, ATA NSW has expressed their concern that mandatory rest breaks for drivers will be almost impossible to comply with, due to the lack of rest areas on NSW roads," ATA NSW Manager Jill Lewis says.

"With the new legislation to be enforced in less than 4 months, all those in the chain of responsibility have a duty of care to ensure that fatigue is addressed appropriately. It is not just for the safety of our drivers, but for the general public as well.

"With tens of thousands of heavy vehicles on our roads, it is the responsibility of the entire supply chain to ensure that we deliver, not only goods and services safely but make sure our drivers return home to their families and loved ones in one piece."

ATA NSW has also recently found information about the location of rest areas on the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) website to be flawed.

It says the Mackey VC rest area (southbound) 0.5km north of SH25 Illawarra Highway off-ramp is only suitable for heavy rigid vehicles, despite what the website says, while the Pheasants Nest rest area at the service station (northbound) 6km north of Picton
Road on-ramp is actually 6km south of Picton Road on-ramp and is known to truck drivers as the Mobil service station.

The Truck stop at Sally’s Corner service station (northbound) 3km south of SH25 Illawarra Highway off-ramp is simply the Shell at Sutton Forest, Lewis says.

ATA NSW has requested the RTA to update the rest area information on the website to include suitability for heavy rigid vehicles, semis, b-doubles and road trains. It also wants a list of amenities such as fresh drinking water, toilets, lighting and, where possible, to commonly name the rest area.

"As drivers begin to prepare themselves for the arrival of these laws, how are they supposed to plan their trips to comply with mandatory rest breaks without the correct information on where they can pull over?" Lewis says.

"For example, if a rest area is not suitable for a B-double, the operators and drivers should know before they leave the depot.

"What is a driver to do when they go to pull over for the mandatory rest break only to find that the area is not big enough for them to turn around in?"

ATA NSW is calling on its members to download the list of truck rest area locations and to make comments on their suitability.

"ATA NSW will continue to remind regulators that operators and drivers must be armed with the right information and facilities to ensure compliance with the incoming fatigue laws," Lewis says.

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