Australia’s regulatory framework for road transport compliance is complex and constantly evolving. Queensland’s Parliament’s Transportation and Utilities Committee, earlier this month, recommended that the Australian Trucking Association's (ATA) reforms to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), be passed through parliament. These reforms are likely to pass but they won’t come into play for at least another 12 months. Once enforced, this will extend CoR to truck maintenance and repairs, as well as put a new due diligence on transport companies for fatigue regulation.
These reforms are a key reminder of the need for the industry to continue improving accountability for safety issues on the road. Managing road and safety regulations isn’t easy, but compliance applications and tools will complement responsible work practices and monitor driver adherence to safety policies and legislation.
With CoR guidelines extended to include maintenance and repairs, you need to take control. This is now easier than ever thanks to increasingly sophisticated telematics that give you real-time visibility across your fleet. Regular inspections reduce the risk of nasty surprises. A good pre-trip checklist is an important aspect of your overall maintenance strategy. Digital checklists are quickly completed by drivers, with information instantly available to back-office staff. Other fleet management tools provide performance data when your fleet is out on the road, alerting you when a vehicle is due for a service or a part is close to its end of life.
On top of stricter maintenance, the ATA recommends the CoR be amended to more closely align fatigue management with work health and safety policies. All parties in the CoR have key role to play in ensuring driver compliance with fatigue rules. This is an important reminder that while the need to tackle fatigue may seem obvious, it’s very difficult for transport operators to regulate and enforce.
Introducing Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs) is an effective way to help transport operators maintain compliance under the CoR. Investment in the correct compliance tools in the cabin, which are connected to the back office toolset, including fleet tracking technology, helps drivers make sensible decisions. This means everybody in the CoR, from drivers to transport operators to back-office staff take a more proactive approach to meeting their fatigue management obligations.
“The committee report is a step forward for the ATA and the trucking industry, because CoR reforms will increase safety and reduce red tape.”
Bill McKinley, Chief of Staff and acting CEO, Australian Trucking Association.
Lastly, wording changes requested in the Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 include replacing the term ‘take all reasonable steps’ with ‘so far as is reasonably practicable,’ to better communicate the requirement of compliance. Through the correct use of GPS fleet tracking and compliance tools, real-time fatigue management information allow drivers and back-office staff to make better safety decisions. This will allow you to quickly identify and correct problems, helping to keep your drivers safe and your business compliant.
While hosted by the Queensland Parliament, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) has been adopted by New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania. As such, amendments made to the HVNL in Queensland will automatically take effect across these states and territories. While they haven’t implemented the HVNL, Western Australia and Northern Territory have similar requirements under their respective WorkSafe rules. Now is the time to ensure your fleet is properly equipped to meet its compliance obligations.