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Keep IAP separate from speed and fatigue

Telematics company says regulators shouldn't link IAP to speed and fatigue monitoring, but should mandate electronic work diaries

By Brad Gardner | October 1, 2010

Electronic work diaries should be mandatory but governments must not link them to the Intelligent Access Program (IAP), according to a telematics and software provider.

Road Tech General Manager Jaime Baldwin says electronic reporting should be legally required for fatigue and speed compliance to boost safety.

But he says linking it to the IAP will not advantage some operators because it is currently used for higher mass limits (HML) and higher productivity vehicles.

“High mass and route access are requirements that only some transport companies may have and therefore should be catered under a voluntary subscription to a given solution (in this instance IAP),” Baldwin says.

“We strongly believe that mandated solutions are required in areas of safety such as speed and fatigue.”

Baldwin made the comments in his response to the National Transport Commission’s proposed national telematics strategy, which is aimed at developing ways to encourage operators to switch to electronic reporting and tracking tools.

In his response, Baldwin highlights potential problems governments will face in imposing electronic work diaries.

“Live monitoring of fatigue and speed would not be as readily accepted within the industry as most drivers feel that they would receive automatic and harsh penalties for minor infringements, whether this is or is not actually the case,” Baldwin says.

He says electronic monitoring could lead to “lazy enforcement” by regulators, penalties for minor infringements and “alienation of the drivers who will justifiably feel that they are being ‘spied on’”.

Citing the accuracy of electronic monitoring, Baldwin says fatigue management legislation will need to be adjusted to give drivers leeway.

“A driver who gets delayed in traffic caused by an accident on a freeway who then takes his required break 10 minutes later…should not necessarily be fined or receive demerit points,” he says.

“Basically – as any electronic system reports to the minute and is impossible to falsify then common sense direction needs to be exercised.”

Baldwin raises concerns about allowing drivers to continue using paper work diaries.

“The current system provides scope for falsifying records as it is paper based and to some extent encourages it as drivers are harshly penalised for any minor infringements and are therefore more likely to be tempted to ‘adjust’ records for their own protection,” he says.

According to Baldwin, trucking companies should have access to digital data so they can monitor their drivers and take disciplinary action to ensure they comply with regulations.

“Regulators could also request random or targeted samples of this data from the transport company, thus expanding upon data retrieved at the roadside and helping to ensure drivers that have not been checked at the roadside can still be monitored,” he says.

The National Transport Commission proposes a voluntary scheme to encourage companies to use telematics to improve compliance and efficiency.

It wants 90 percent of the industry using the technology by 2030.

Baldwin suggests tax incentives for companies that invest in telematics and can show the majority of their orders are completed electronically.

The NTC wants a national voluntary scheme and says governments should provide policy certainty and leave the development of solutions to the private sector.

NTC safety management Dr Jeff Potter says a national strategy will encourage operators to use the technology because government policy will be clear and consistent.

Following industry feedback, the NTC will submit a final policy paper to the Australian Transport Council (ATC) for approval.

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