Opinion: Brother wants bigger

By: Rob McKay

If the national regulator was seeking to scare the trucking horses, it did well

Opinion: Brother wants bigger
Some quarters may harbour concerns at Big Brother being in the cab and at the office desk.


What sort of national regulator does the industry want?

Well, thanks to the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) inquiry, we know what kind it wants to be.

And that is holding a central position to freight transport’s future role in continuing the nation’s economic success.

On the way there, it hopes to influence industry behaviour through greater powers over enforcement and monitoring.

This can happen through industry data supplied to the NHVR’s Safety and Compliance Regulatory Platform that will integrate with the National Compliance Information System (NCIS).

The NCIS network will monitor heavy vehicle travel times, registration status through the national registration system and compliance history.

"It will also detect vehicles/drivers that fail to enter heavy vehicle safety stations for compliance checks," the NHVR says.

"This provides real time accurate information to make on road enforcement stronger and better targeted at unsafe operators resulting in less delay and intervention for compliant operators and less time pressure on the road.

"This information also provides government and industry with a clear understanding of the main causes of crashes such as fatigue and speed so we can develop a picture of the trends that cause these safety risks so they can be better prevented."

George Orwell says "hi" from Oceania.                                                                                         

Honestly, even though, thankfully, it’s a public document, some bureaucrats really could think harder about how these things will be interpreted. And it won’t be as a straight swap of transparency for efficiency.

While it is bound to send a shiver down a lot of trucking spines that feared just this sort of oversight, the industry’s shocking fatality record means that won’t count for much elsewhere, especially given that it has stopped improving. 

But while some quarters may harbour concerns at Big Brother being in the cab and at the office desk, others appear to believe that it should be so.

Linfox has not been shy of pushing compliance recently.

"Safety and compliance is the number one focus for Linfox Logistics, reflected in our company's Vision Zero ethos," regional CEO Annette Carey says when addressing "safety and compliance, and national coordination on frameworks governing vehicle and infrastructure automation and connectivity" to the inquiry.

"In other sectors of the transport industry, there has been a highly publicised move away from strictly-regulated and standardised training requirements for drivers and safety standards for vehicles, consistent with the entrance into the market of ridesharing operators with low to no barriers to entry.

"Industry concern at such trends is well understood.

"There's a reason our industry is as closely regulated as it is; given the safety risks attendant to fly-by-night heavy vehicle aggregators, Linfox believes there is no place for grey areas, or overlooking non-compliance in the transport industry.

"Linfox also believes there is significant potential in vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to everything (V2X) communication, which are key enablers of both increased vehicle and network automation.

"To help realise the mooted increases in safety and productivity that increased automation can deliver, a nationally consistent legislative framework supporting the testing and implementation of automated vehicle (of all types) and infrastructure solutions is key, as well as a framework that is able to be adapted as these dynamic technologies continue to rapidly evolve -these rules cannot be set and forget."

Perhaps there were more transport firms amongst those which kept their thought in anonymous submissions or maybe they left it to their industry groups to make their points.

Either way, more from those who should be concerned the most would definitely have been better.

Check out the full article in this month's ATN.

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