Opinion: Preparing for reform

By: Geoff Crouch

Pointers worth noting as industry prepares for reformed truck safety laws

Opinion: Preparing for reform
Geoff Crouch


Truck safety laws are changing and compliance is more important than ever. On October 1, 2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will be amended to introduce a strong primary safety duty, extensions to the chain of responsibility (COR) to cover vehicle maintenance and repairs and explicit due diligence obligations on executives.

The changes will require trucking businesses and customers to increase their focus on developing and maintaining appropriate safety systems.

The ATA and our member associations have argued for these changes since 2012, as part of our plan to improve safety while eliminating prescriptive red tape.

Australia is home to the fifth-largest freight task in the world and is an essential component of the Australian economy. The changes to legislation and HVNL are important to the safety and viability of trucking businesses and, as the owner of a trucking business myself, I am glad the amendments are coming into effect as soon as possible.

These changes are about making sure businesses and operators have appropriate controls in place that protect themselves and employees, including:

  • Implementing suitable business practices, training, procedures and review processes that help to identify and control risk
  • Meet reporting requirements, document actions taken to manage safety
  • Manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading and vehicle standard requirements.

These law changes are fast approaching, and it’s important for all parties in the supply chain to be aware of their new responsibilities and the role they must play to ensure heavy vehicle safety whether a business has 10 employees or 100.

The ATA took aim at the financial exploitation of the trucking industry earlier this month. Check out our story here.

As the regulations change, implementing technology solutions and joining accreditation schemes like the ATA’s TruckSafe will assist in COR compliance.

The demands of the Australian trucking industry are constantly changing, and it’s important that the appropriate technology is available to meet the requirements.

Transport management systems, fleet maintenance management software, freight visibility technology, and routing and scheduling software are needed by transporters to keep an eye on all aspects of the supply chain in real time, driven by the requirement to comply with COR obligations.

At the ATA’s annual conference held in April, we heard from CTO of Trimble Transportation, Timothy Leonard, who noted the benefits of technology-based management systems and the use of blockchain.

Leonard uncovered the vital role blockchain plays in revolutionising freight tracking, proof of delivery, payments and more.

Applied to the transport industry, it offers major advantages such as greater transparency, security and transaction speed.

Leonard demonstrated that customers who had implemented blockchain into their daily operations and management systems had gained improved quality, safety and regulatory compliance.

In preparation for the HVNL amendments, with support from the Australian government and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), the ATA and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have developed a new master registered code of practice to help trucking businesses comply with the new law, manage risks and improve safety.

This code is designed to make businesses safer and ensure they are compliant with the new provisions.

The ATA’s best-practice accreditation system, TruckSafe, will implement the master code to help members comply with the changes and make sure their covered.

Now is the time for trucking businesses to prepare for HVNL amendments and take action, whether it be implementing transport management systems or becoming TruckSafe accredited – or both.

Geoff Crouch chairs the Australian Trucking Association


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