ATA seeks new ways to get message out

For the Australian Trucking Association and attendees of its High Productivity Freight Vehicle Demonstration Day, success came down to quality, not quantity.

ATA seeks new ways to get message out
A 36.5 metre AB-triple at the event

Held today at the Driver Education Centre of Australia (DECA), part of Wodonga TAFE, the event saw companies and drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles to demonstrate the operation of high productivity vehicles for state government workers and local government staff and councillors.

Alongside the typical 24 pallet semi-trailer and 36-pallet B-double, attendees also got to see a PBS Level 2A truck and dog, a PBS A-double and Modular B-triple and both a 36.5 metre type 1 Road Train and a 36.5m AB-triple in operation.

Speaking with ATN on the sidelines of the event, ATA CEO Ben Maguire says the Association aimed to help local regulators better understand how safe high productivity vehicles generally are.

"It is a costly exercise for the operators to come and donate their time… Days like today will help influence peoples thinking and understanding better."

For Kel Baxter, who chairs the ATA’s Industry Technical Council, the proof of the efficiency offered by these vehicles made for some really good stories for local governments.

Citing ATA statistics, he told attendees that in order to shift 1000 tonnes of load, a six axle semi-trailer at GML would need 42 journeys – while an AB Triple Triaxle Dolly could do it in 15.

"When you have put 15 ab triples on the highway, and you put a 3 second gap between them at 100km which is about 80 metres, the AB triples need about 1.8km of road space. If you do that with semi trailers you need 4.3km," he said.

"By going to larger vehicles we are improving road wear."

However, it did not escape Baxter’s notice that event attendance was not what it might have been – noting that all local governments within 180km of Wodonga had been invited, but representatives of only three attended the event.

"it is interesting when you look at the NHVR heat maps and you look at some of the councils that have been really slow in responding – some of those councils that haven’t attended today are in that category," he says.

"It is always easy to convert those who are already converted, but it is those who are so anti some of this stuff that they do not understand."

Maguire, however, is a bit more optimistic.

"We don’t measure the success by how many people turn up… If we can change the hearts and minds of a new people then we have done our job. And we will be looking forward to the next one."

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