THE peak body representing Tasmanian transport operators has welcomed the State Government’s plan to increase and upgrade rest areas for heavy vehicles.
The Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Areas Project Report was completed by the Tasmanian Transport Association, using State Government funding provided in October 2018.
It was released today at the Tasmanian Transport Association’s transport forum in Launceston and coincides with National Road Safety Week.
A key recommendation from the report was the development of a Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Area Strategy to provide for suitable roadside amenities.
This strategy was launched at the forum by Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson.
Tasmanian Transport Association chairman John de Bruyn said the industry had been lobbying for at least 20 years for better facilities for drivers.
“As an island state, efficient and safe road freight is a key enabler of the Tasmanian economy, business and way of life,” de Bruyn said.
“Providing rest area facilities is critical to support the safe operation of heavy vehicles, to meet strict fatigue regulations and keep drivers alive.”
Currently Tasmania does not meet nationally agreed guidelines for the provision of rest facilities.
de Bruyn said the bypassing of towns where drivers could previously stop safely for a rest and to use facilities, and upgrades to major highways with median and roadside barriers, have contributed to reduced safe pullover opportunities for heavy vehicles.
The TTA believes the provision of appropriate rest areas on key Tasmanian freight routes will not only improve the health, wellbeing and fatigue management of drivers and road user safety, but in the long term will support industry recruitment and driver retention by ensuring a safe working environment.
The Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Areas Project Report can be accessed at https://www.tta.org.au/rest-areas/