Trucks 'littered with devices' under closed telematics scheme

Roads department says any truck monitoring scheme should have open standards to ensure interoperability

By Brad Gardner | September 28, 2010

Governments should ensure any heavy vehicle tracking scheme adopts open standards so truck cabins are not littered with monitoring devices, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority says.

As the National Transport Commission continues to receive feedback over proposals for a national telematics scheme, the RTA has opposed limiting the technology to set standards.

It says governments should not mandate a particular device, instead focusing on setting performance and interface standards which must be met.

"The RTA is aware of industry concerns that without interoperability, truck dashboards will be littered with devices performing different functions," it says.

"Therefore, in general, the RTA supports the development of open standards to create a competitive industry for telematics."

While it does see benefit in mandating the technology to improve industry compliance with fatigue management and speed, the RTA says monitoring technology can be used for other purposes.

"In addition, positive applications such as the ability to signal truck drivers about the availability of places in rest areas should be considered," it says.

The department agrees with the NTC any scheme should be nationally consistent, arguing it could encourage greater uptake in the technology by trucking operators.

However, it notes a lack of coordination in the development of telematics applications due to number of groups doing work on the issue, including ITS Australia, the Queensland Government and Austroads.

"Benefits to industry and government would flow from better coordination of effort, a national approach and ongoing dialogue about the benefits to industry from early adoption technology," the RTA says.

It says enforcement guidelines will need to be reformed if electronic monitoring is introduced. The RTA cites changes to roadside intercepts, investigations of records and chain of responsibility prosecutions as examples.

The department is also keen to adopt different approaches to different sections of the trucking industry.

"We need to segment the industry and apply different strategies to different types and sizes of operator, and ensure all relevant industry sectors and geographical regions are covered," the RTA says.

The NTC’s paper, Draft National In-Vehicle Telematics Strategy supports a voluntary scheme aimed at encouraging operators to use electronic monitoring devices.

NTC CEO Nick Dimopoulos says the NTC wants 90 percent of the trucking industry using in-vehicle technologies by 2030 to improve efficiency and manage speed, fatigue and overloading risks.

However, the NTC has found reluctance by sections of the industry to use the technology due to installation and maintenance costs and privacy concerns.

GPS provider Navman Wireless has suggested tax breaks for trucking companies that install the technology.

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