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Industry welcomes NSW licence check service

New system allows operators to check multiple licence and demerit point status at one time


NSW roads and freight minister Duncan Gay’s announcement of the introduction of the Driver Licence Check validation service has met with industry approval, with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Livestock and Bulk Carriers (LBCA) stating that the new service will improve transparency and efficiency across the state.

The service covers licence and selective demerit point validation, allowing operators to check licence and demerit point status of up to 1,000 employees at one time.

It aims to help companies determine that drivers of company vehicles meet the required licence requirements, and offer general means to enhance good driving, road safety and identity security.

Users will need to apply to the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) for approval to use the service before signing a standard agreement that requires each user to give a significant undertaking about permitted use, record-keeping, administration, auditing and privacy conditions.

“Medium to large trucking operators can have dozens if not hundreds of drivers under their employ making it very challenging to monitor the status of each licence each day – the new system will cut hours off this administrative requirement every week,” Gay says.

“The program is also critical to better helping trucking operators manage their duties under chain of responsibility law – which covers mass, load restraint, dimension, fatigue and speed offences.

“The current rollout is the first in a multi-stage approach to improve real time information flow from the road back to the depot.

“Upcoming rollouts include sending alerts to operators within 24 hours of a vehicle receiving a defect notice, enabling operators to get defects fixed sooner.”

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says the logistics council has been calling on the government to revise the privacy legislation that prohibited transport companies from accessing the driver records of their employees for many years.

“ALC has long called for transport companies to have the ability to be able to confirm whether employees and contractors driving their vehicles have an appropriate and valid heavy vehicle licence,” Kilgariff says.

“Being able to confirm licence validity on an ongoing basis is an important step forward from a safety perspective and demonstrates the government’s willingness to work with industry on practical measures that will improve safety and efficiency on our roads.  

“Similarly, the changes announced today by Minister Gay in regards to ‘real-time’ demerit point status will ease the administrative burden on many transport operators and will help strengthen heavy vehicle safety.  

“ALC would encourage other jurisdictions which have yet to reform their licence checking arrangements to implement similar measures so we have a national approach.

“Having seamless regulatory arrangements for such things as licence checking is needed to drive both productivity and safety outcomes, and is critical to underpinning the efficient movement of freight across state borders.”

The LBCA says the new system will simplify the checking of employee licence, demerit information by reducing the processing associated with the task, and allow operators to engage in proactive compliance and initiate early intervention.

It estimates the new service will help reduce the administrative task associated with licence checks to be cut down by roughly 80 per cent.

“A logical, simple to use and efficient system that helps us to manage our chain of responsibility obligations is great news and a welcomed tool to assist operators to improve overall road safety,” LBCA president Lynley Miners says.

“Reducing the time vehicles are off-the-road minimises financial loss and greatly assists to ensure vehicles that are on the road are worthy for the road.”

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