The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called on the state and territory governments to implement stronger speeding laws in conjunction with the fatigue management reforms in September, rather than delaying their implementation.
The ATA made the demand at its general council meeting in Canberra today, following a discussion led by the chair of its Safety KRA, Steve Shearer.
ATA CEO Stuart St Clair said the existing speeding laws were not good enough because they do not stop companies and customers from pressuring drivers to speed.
“Four years ago, we called on governments to develop ‘chain of responsibility’ speeding laws to require company managers, schedulers and customers to take reasonable steps to make sure their delivery schedules and deadlines do not force drivers to speed,” Mr St Clair said.
“The Australian, state and territory transport ministers only agreed on a model law in January this year. The next step is for the state and territory governments to put it into effect, but the only state government pushing ahead with the law this year is New South Wales.
“The state and territory governments need to get serious about the road toll. They need to pass the proposed laws to stop people imposing deadlines that our drivers can’t meet without speeding.
“They need to impose the speeding laws at the same time as the fatigue management reforms, in September, because there is a link between fatigue and speed in improving the safety performance of road transport. Otherwise, they’re just not serious.”
Mr St Clair said the states and territories also needed to enforce the speed limit better. “The trucking industry is now contributing $65 million per year toward the cost of heavy vehicle enforcement. We’re entitled to get value for our money.
“We want the states and territories to spend our money on targeted, high profile enforcement that will stop speeding, rather than using speeding fines as a source of revenue,” he said.
He warned that governments could not rely on technology such as digital tachographs or GPS to combat speeding.
“The new technology that is now available will have an important role, but there’s no substitute for a strong chain of responsibility framework and strong enforcement, with police cars on the road where they can be seen,” he said.
Speed management will be an important focus of the forthcoming ATA Safety Summit, which will be held on 28 May in conjunction with the 2008 Australian Trucking Convention. The summit will focus on changing the culture of the community, regulators, clients of road transport, and the industry to emphasise safety.
More information about the ATA Safety Summit is accessible at www.ataevents.net.au.