Watson spotlights safety and driver training concern

ATA’s submission calls for greater thought on ‘key issues’

Watson spotlights safety and driver training concern
Noelene Watson appeals for review of driver training units.


Improving the consistency and quality of training and assessment of truck drivers must receive greater policy consideration, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Noelene Watson says.

The suggestion is part of ATA’s submission in response to Australian Industry Standards’ Transport and Logistics IRC Skills Forecast key findings discussion paper 2017, which, Watson points out, skipped over "key issues" such as road safety and driver training.

She says these two issues must be top on the agenda of the four-year work plan for the transport and logistics training package. 

"Improving the consistency and quality of the training and assessment of truck drivers is a critical skills issue that must be addressed," she says.

"Whilst there are many excellent trainers, others train to a price and can be more focused on how long a course will take, and not on the level of competency attained.

"The ATA has raised this previously as a key skills issue, but the AIS discussion paper makes no mention of safety or driver training as key issues." 

With legislative changes to chain of responsibility (COR) obligations in the offing, there is a need for a review of associated training units, she says.

"In 2018, reforms to the Heavy Vehicle National Law will come into effect which will extend the chain of responsibility to vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness, and massively increase maximum penalties for the most serious cases to bring them into line with other national safety laws. 

"Existing training units based on the old law need to be reviewed and updated to reflect the new requirements.

"These changes are significant, which is why the ATA has organised a chain of responsibility due diligence certificate masterclass for delegates to the ATA’s Trucking Australia conference, on 21 to 23 June in Darwin." 

Watson also highlights the need for policy consideration on the relevance of light vehicle driver standards and education.

The fact that statistics show a number of road accidents are caused due to the faults of light vehicle drivers, educating light vehicle drivers about safe driving practices when around trucks has only received "sporadic" attention.

"There must be a review of light vehicle driver training standards and competencies to improve road safety for everyone, by including awareness of sharing the road safely with heavy vehicles," she says.

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