Fire-forced southern NSW OSOM rules eased


TFNSW lifts rule and NHVR makes permits plea as recovery accelerates

Fire-forced southern NSW OSOM rules eased
One of the Need for Feed trucks with its NHVR escort vehicle

 

Transport for NSW has lifted oversize-overmass (OSOM) restrictions that were placed on such truck travel in southern NSW last week as a result of bushfires.

State and federal authorities the situation in this area is still unpredictable and conditions may change at short notice.

Operators are requested to maintain a high level of caution when travelling in these areas.

"There are still a significant number of emergency service and Defence Force vehicles assisting with the recovery effort," they are warned.

"Roads could be affected by smoke and there may still be damage in some areas as a result of the fires."

Operators are asked to visit www.livetraffic.com for the latest traffic information, download the Live Traffic NSW app or call 132 701.

The move comes as Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch and other national organisation representatives met with leaders in government at a prime ministerial roundtable to discuss the bushfire crisis and recovery efforts. 

The association reports that during the roundtable, Crouch shared what the trucking industry is doing, acknowledging the tremendous effort of industry members who are working hard to deliver what's needed.

He acknowledged the individuals and businesses who have donated time and vehicle running costs to get fodder and supplies to bushfire affected communities and farms.

There have also been a number of convoys and stories of trucks stepping up to supply those in need which demonstrate the very best of our community. 

That initiative follows a similar one with federal agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie yesterday.

ATA transport and infrastructure adviser Sam Marks gave an overview of how the trucking industry has been impacted by the bushfires, what risks the industry is facing as a result, what role our organisation has played in the response to date, and what assistance will be important as part of the immediate response and into the recovery phase.

Bushfire impacts on trucking has been underlined publically, not least by the Western Roads Federation (WRF) and the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) after the Eyre Highway was blocked in the first half of the month.


Read how the industry has been advising the federal government, here


Meanwhile, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) flags that it is experiencing a "significantly increased" number of permit applications.

The issue of flexibility of road access to rural fire grounds, especially for trucks carrying emergency fodder, has been raised by transporters and farming industry bodies alike.

"We request operators to avoid any non-essential permit applications in the coming weeks," the NHVR says.

It advises heavy-vehicle operators on the road should take the following steps when accessing bushfire-affected areas:

The national regulator also warns that some National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) accreditations may have lapsed, with operators unable to lodge the required ‘maintain accreditation’ application or not being able to meet their audit commitments.

"With consideration to the extreme circumstances, should such a situation be the case, please contact the NHVR accreditation team so that we can provide appropriate support and guidance for continuation in the NHVAS," it says.

Meanwhile, the NHVR says it has been out across eastern Victoria over the past few days escorting drivers through fire affected areas, along narrow or damaged roads often under poor visibility and missing signage.

It has released pictures of one of three loads of hay in a convoy for Need for Feed being escorted to properties between Bairnsdale and Orbost.

"The NHVR thanks operators for their assistance and care when accessing these areas," it says.

The NHVR also notes that operators should be aware of options when using a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for personal use, particularly in areas where there are no alternative means of transport.

The Personal use exemption, allows an additional hour for private or non-commercial activities, such as reaching suitable sleeping accommodation and restocking supplies for a trip. The exemption applies if the truck is unladen or unhitched.

Drivers using the exemption still have a responsibility to manage their own fatigue and stop driving if tired.

The NHVR recently extended the exemption to include drivers operating under Basic and Advanced Fatigue Management, as well as under Standard hours.

More information on the Personal use exemption can be found at www.nhvr.gov.au/fatigue-personal-use.

 

 

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