Toll, Linfox want mandatory truck trackers

Toll and Linfox want governments to mandate telematics for linehaul operations, arguing it will improve safety

Toll, Linfox want mandatory truck trackers
Toll, Linfox want mandatory truck trackers
By Brad Gardner | August 24, 2010

The country's largest transport companies want compulsory GPS devices for linehual operations to monitor driver fatigue and speed.

Toll, Linfox and Asciano have issued a joint written recommendation for monitoring devices for all companies involved in operations beyond 500km.

The three parties agree mandatory tracking will improve compliance because the major causes of truck accidents are speed and fatigue related.

"We believe it should be mandatory for companies to monitor fatigue and speed using telematics technology. We also believe it is vital to amend the current counting hour rules to make them nationally consistent," Toll, Linfox and Asciano write.

They cite studies from Europe pointing to a reduction in the severity of accidents of up to 30 percent following the installation of monitoring technology in trucks.

Under the proposed scheme, the GPS devices will be capable of emailing messages to notify the vehicle owner of a breach, warn drivers when they are speeding and count driving hours to inform drivers when they are reaching a limit.

The devices will also be equipped with anti-tampering systems, traceable records, driver identification such as smartcards and measures to log accident data.

However, they want all information to remain under the control of a company instead of a system similar to the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) which transmits information to road authorities.

Companies will be subjected to external audits and accreditation such as an industry code of conduct and will provide the information in the event of a major incident or investigation.

Toll, Linfox and Asciano want a single national standard developed to govern the scheme and believe the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is the ideal candidate to develop guidelines.

The Regulator will be running in 2013 as part of the move to national trucking regulations.

The three parties say companies should be free to use any device as long as it meets a national standard and want monitoring limited to speed and fatigue.

"The Regulator should amend legislation where required to allow use of electronic work diaries where operators choose to implement them as part of their telematics system."

The recommendation was made in response to the National Transport Commission’s proposal for a national telematics strategy.

The NTC listed three options as ways to improve the adoption of the technology by operators: business as usual, government and industry partnership and strong government intervention. The NTC supports the second option.

The proposal by Toll, Linfox and Asciano has won the support of the lobby group, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).

It claims mandatory telematics systems will reduce the number of lives from heavy vehicle accidents.

But it says any compulsory scheme should be phased in over a period of time so trucking operators can gradually fit the technology. The ALC also recommends a subsidy scheme to encourage the use of telematics.

The group also agrees that a single national standard must be introduced to reduce duplication and compliance costs.

"A solution may be as simple as a set of guidelines…that spell out what is required by users combined with standard data definitions, so those developing any enabling software take these into account," the ALC says.

"…any equipment meeting any relevant standards should be capable of being used as prima facie evidence for the purposes of compliance with both sector specific and general industry safety legislation."

The push for mandatory monitoring contradicts the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) position that any scheme must be voluntary.

ATA Chairman David Simon says governments should encourage the use of monitoring tools to improve compliance and aid businesses.

"However, the ATA supports the use of supervised intervention orders specifying the use of telematics, applied by a court, for serious or persistent offenders with proven history of non-compliance," he says.

What do you think of the proposal by Toll, Linfox and Asciano? Should GPS devices be mandatory to manage fatigue and speed? Leave your thoughts below or contact ATN

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