What about your own fatigue regs, RTA?


Road agency responsible for enforcing fatigue regulations found working its own staff too hard

By Brad Gardner | December 8, 2009

The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority has been asked to examine its own fatigue management after drawing another rebuke for working staff too hard.

In his latest audit of government agencies, Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat has urged the RTA to cut the number of overtime hours after finding one employee earned $114,000 from working overtime.

Although some truck drivers face significant penalties for exceeding 12-hour days, Achterstraat’s report finds that the amount of overtime worked by one RTA employee was 139 percent of their salary.

The employee’s annual salary was $47,488 but he earned $66,221 from overtime.

"This indicates that overtime needs to be more effectively managed especially for those earning such high levels of income," the Auditor-General says.

"I have previously recommended the Authority review its overtime approval procedures and monitor overtime levels to ensure overtime is effectively managed and achieves desired outcomes."

In his audit, Achterstraat says the RTA has informed him it is addressing the issue.

This includes night shift work for traffic signals staff, a provision restricting overtime work and closely monitoring excessive work hours.

The department was also told to improve its approach to maintaining NSW roads after Achterstraat found the RTA did not meet its long-term pavement rebuilding target.

"The Authority achieved its short term target of 1.1 percent, but not its long term target of 2 percent," he says.

"I recommend the Authority develop strategies to achieve its annual target of rebuilding 2 percent of its road pavements to ensure long term sustainability of its roads."

However, the RTA says it is unlikely to achieve this target unless funding arrangements change.

According to the audit, the RTA spent $695 million on maintenance last financial year and $671 million in the previous period.

SPEED, NOT FATIGUE CAUSING MORE CRASHES
Achterstraat’s audit also lists the greatest contributor to the NSW road toll last financial year. Of the 454 fatalities, the audit says 180 were speed related.

Another 89 died from an illegal level of alcohol, with fatigue related crashes causing 71 deaths.

The audit says another 57 died from not wearing a seatbelt.

More people were also injured from speeding rather than driving while fatigued.

According to the report, there were 3,557 speed related injuries and 1,938 fatigue related injuries.

Illegal alcohol consumption was the next highest with 1,254, while there were 308 injuries from not wearing a seatbelt.

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