Road Freight NSW welcomes RMS licence move


State industry association warns out-of-state operators to arm drivers with relevant documentation if visiting with low loader dolly-low loader combinations

Road Freight NSW welcomes RMS licence move
Jodie Broadbent urges caution on licences.

 

Road Freight NSW efforts to change Roads and Maritime Services minds one low-loader licencing have borne fruit.

"Members are advised that RMS has, finally, corrected its position regarding drivers using low loader dolly-low loader combinations, to reflect the advice provided by Minister Gay to Road Freight NSW," the organisation’s general manager, Jodie Broadbent, tells them.

"The previous RMS advice claimed that interstate drivers were required to comply with the NSW driver licence requirement for drivers of low loader dolly-low loader combinations to hold an MC class licence.

"This advice was incorrect."

Broadbent points to the wording of clause 99 of the NSW Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2008 regarding otherwise blameless drivers entering NSW should be free to do so if they comply with their state’s licence requirements.

The wording is:

99 Interstate and international visitors

(1) A visiting driver who holds:

(a) a current Australian driver licence or learning licence (including a New Zealand driver licence or learner licence) issued in another jurisdiction, or
(b) a current foreign driver licence and international driving permit, or
(c) a current foreign driver licence that is written in English or is accompanied by an English translation,

that authorises him or her to drive a motor vehicle of a particular kind may drive a motor vehicle of that kind in this State, and is exempt from NSW driver licence holding requirements.

"We advised RMS officers of this particular clause in January 2015 when members raised this issue," Broadbent continues.

"Since then, we have had ongoing meetings with RMS to try and find an appropriate solution for affected drivers.

"Our view is that drivers currently holding a HC class licence can be assessed using ‘recognition of current competencies’ with these combinations.

"Our position was formed due to the fact this practice was widely accepted and adopted by road agencies when B-double combinations were first introduced into Australia.

"Secondly, our members expressed concern that trainers who can provide training or assessment for the MC class licence have very little, if any, relevant experience or operational knowledge of low loader dolly-low loader combinations.

"Despite our repeated requests for such a solution, this has not been advanced.

"Therefore, we do not agree with assertions made on the RMS website that industry agreed to any end date to the moratorium on enforcement.

"It was our understanding the moratorium would continue until a suitable solution was identified.

"To our knowledge, no such solution has yet been identified."

RMS pitched the initial move as a safety issue over which the industry "agreed a six-month transition period was required during which formal warnings were issued by Roads and Maritime inspectors instead of penalty notices".

It insisted the change "is consistent with the agreed national licence classes, stated in Clause 7 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2008 and also part of Roads and Martime’s responsibility".

A penalty notice fine of $637 applies for a first offence and $1,275 for a second or subsequent offence.

Road Freight NSW remains on the alert about the matter and believes the rest of the industry should do what it can reduce risks surrounding it.

"We strongly encourage those members and associates with drivers holding a HC class licence from another state, and travelling from other states into NSW with these combinations, to ensure they inform themselves of that state’s class of licence required for the low loader dolly-low loader combination," Broadbent says. 

"We further advise that, where relevant, drivers carry advice from their state road agency clearly identifying that a HC class licence is the government defined requirement for a low loader dolly-low loader combination in that state.

"We also recommend contacting the relevant member association in your state to seek clarification on that state’s position on this matter." 

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