Better mapping needed for NSW roads

By: Andrew Hobbs


Drivers should have better maps and facilities to avoid accidents, lift productivity: LBRCA

Better mapping needed for NSW roads
Lynley Miners

 

Developing better maps of regional roads rather than relying on prescriptive technologies are among the best ways to improve heavy vehicle safety on New South Wales roads, according to one industry organisation.

The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association of NSW (LBRCA) makes the comments in its submission to an inquiry into the use of technology on road safety co-ordinated by the NSW Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety, also known as the Staysafe Committee.

In a letter accompanying the submission, LBRCA president Lynley Miners says it is important the government acknowledges many issues, including improving safety, could not simply be fixed by the greater adoption of new technologies.

"The LBRCA consider that the embrace of certain technologies can be innovative for the heavy vehicle transport industry… though we cannot impost industry with technologies without evidence-based justification, nor the necessary platforms to support such innovation," he writes.

The current voluntary electronic work diary requirements were, according to the submission, too prescriptive, and "concentrates on enforcement more so than their purpose, which is safety."

"All the safety technology in the world will not be of any aid if it is not understood, accepted, or put in place for non-safety related purposes," Miners says.

"Likewise, a system designed to monitor and aid in managing driver fatigue will be of no benefit if a driver has no parking bays to pull over and rest," he writes.

In its submission, the LBRCA said there was a real lack of data to help fleet owners understand current and expected future regional travel patterns, compared to that available in metropolitan Sydney.

"We strongly recommend that the NSW government prioritise the mapping and urgent understanding of the current NSW road network, including freight routes and incorporating all roads regardless of whether they are state or local owned infrastructure," the submission said.

This could include the introduction of a heavy vehicle access system – to indicate where drivers could not go, as well as making all government heavy route maps available for viewing on common hardware – including mobile phones, tablets and computers.

"Immediate safety, productivity and economic gains for the entire state could be achieved through the implementation of a gazetted road network system," the submission says.

"The development of a purpose built heavy vehicle route navigation system could allow a truck driver to see their route, rest areas along the route including their service level to provide real-time safety benefits to the heavy vehicle driver, as well as assist the driver to comply with fatigue regulations."

"With a limited number of truck rest stops available, any tool to help drivers better plan their rest breaks and better manage their fatigue requirements is a positive safety initiative."

The development of NSW’s Intelligent Access Program (IAP) was also condemned by the organisation, which said it had proven to be ineffective in its ability to provide consistent and reliable data, as well as being a hindrance to productivity.

"Whilst some operators who have high frequency and regular routes have an interest in gaining access to Higher Mass Limits (HML), the reality is that the high cost associated with the only route assurance mechanism (IAP) sees most operators put it in the ‘too hard’ basket," the LBRCA said.

"We are missing opportunities for safer and more efficient vehicles operating in western regions, not to mention inhibiting the growth of our sector – and NSW - through the creation of too many roadblocks."

The submission is one of more than 40 made to the inquiry, which is set to move to hearings in early April. News from other submissions is available here and here.

 

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