ALRTA 2014: Operator’s ‘head is spinning’ over RSRO requirements

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner


Livestock transporter takes issue with requirement for industry to use safe driving plans.

ALRTA 2014: Operator’s ‘head is spinning’ over RSRO requirements
Unworkable situation: Trucking operator Kevin Fechner says safe driving plans cannot work in the livestock transport industry.

 

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) is being urged to lobby the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to rethink its stance on mandatory safe driving plans.    

Victorian-based livestock and milk transport operator Kevin Fechner raised serious concerns about the driving plans at this year’s ALRTA conference.  

Fechner, who operates five trucks, says the nature of the livestock transport game makes it impossible for transporters to comply with them.  

"Safe driving plans will just not work in livestock, I’m sorry. I don’t know any of you out there that know exactly where they are going to finish up when their truck leaves," he told those gathered at this year’s conference in Adelaide.  

"I think that ALRTA has to sit down with the tribunal and really spell out what will work and what won’t work for livestock."  

From May 1, the RSRT required companies to provide drivers with a written plan for trips over 500km. The plan must list pick-up and delivery locations, potential risks and anticipated timeframes for each stage of the journey.  

However, livestock transporters often receive calls from clients throughout the day to collect stock and deliver them.    

This, Fechner says, makes it hard for companies to list pick-up and delivery locations before a driver starts their journey.  

"I’ve got a real problem with that driving plan and I’m sure that many of you will agree it will not work in livestock. It may work when you have designated pick-ups and designated drop-offs," he says.    

Fechner says his "head is spinning at the moment" from trying to comply with the driving plan requirement, which is outlined in the RSRT’s road safety remuneration order.  

The order also requires companies to meet a range of other conditions covering written contracts, drug and alcohol policies, driver training and fatigue management.      

Fechner says he has no problems meeting requirements relating to contracts and drug and alcohol policies, but he adds that the order does duplicate existing obligations covering vehicle inspections and fatigue management.  

Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Peter Garske recently raised similar sentiments.  

Hugh McMaster from the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) agrees the order does overlap with some existing regulations but adds that trucking companies operating legally will probably be compliant with the order.

"A good operator should be able to meet most of the obligations under this order reasonably easy," he says. 

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