Austroads calls for a licence fix
AUSTROADS is reviewing the national framework for heavy vehicle driver competency with specific reference to licensing.
In 2011 the Standing Committee on Transport endorsed the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework.
This framework, in conjunction with the National Heavy Vehicle Assessment Guide, provides for minimum competencies and assessment to underpin heavy vehicle licensing and has been implemented, in various forms, in most Australian states and territories.
In 2017, ministers requested Austroads undertake a review of the framework.
In response to the findings and recommendations of that review, the Review of the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework, the deliberations of the Senate Committee and industry feedback, Austroads has continued its investigation and program of work in pursuit of improvements to heavy vehicle licensing and safety.
Austroads commissioned a project to review the framework overall, taking into account international practice and adult learning and human factors, review and update the Licence to Drive units that underpin the framework and review the current heavy vehicle progression structure, compare it to other structures and develop options.
Some findings for consideration include:
- Strengthening the Licence to Drive units of competency and assessment particularly in areas of: Safe vehicle operating practice with a focus on the development of cognitive skills such as hazard awareness and response; driving under and responding to a broad range of road conditions; Vehicle systems; Loading.
- Development of standardised training and assessment material to support the delivery of Licence to Drive units, including potential development of computer based training modules to support skill development and assessment in safe vehicle operating practice.
- Consideration of minimum supervised hours of experience as part of heavy vehicle licensing. This is based on research findings which point to the positive increases in technical driving skill which flow from experience. Best practice overseas training programs also point to the importance of experience as part of learning.
- Further investigation, with potential trials, of alternatives to the current progressive heavy vehicle licensing arrangements, noting the importance of maintaining a focus on road safety and supporting evidence based decision making in any change to licensing arrangements.
- Examination of currently existing programs and processes. A review of these programs and the safety record of participants would be expected to inform discussion on any potential alternatives to the current heavy vehicle licensing progression.
Austroads will consider the findings and develop a program of work that will be progressed during 2019-20.