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Electronic work diary roll out slapped down

The ATA has put together a list of changes they would like to see implemented.
The ATA has put together a list of changes they would like to see implemented.

THE Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has denounced the roll out of electronic work diaries (EWD) in an extremely public push against the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).   

Tuesday the ATA's Safety and Skills Adviser Melissa Weller said the industry body did not support the NHVR's draft EWD policy framework and standards "because the standards don't meet the needs of the industry."  

Instead Ms Weller suggests the NHVR's framework is more focused on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes.   

"The current NHVR draft policy and standards offer insufficient tolerances and no flexibility, leaving drivers exposed to prosecution for inconsequential technical breaches that will have no impact on safety," she said.   

"The ATA believes the primary aim of EWDs must be to increase industry safety through better fatigue management by aiding drivers in achieving compliance - not to increase enforcement opportunities."  

The ATA submission on the matter recommended the NHVR should not proceed with the rollout of voluntary EWDs until a number of measures were met.   

The measures included the amending of fatigue regulations to "include realistic EWD tolerances" and a clarification of the term 'voluntary' EWD with specific reference to NHVAS, PBS, notice and permit conditions.   

Quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas also must be increased and the standards must be amended so that EWDs do not provide a 28 day list of minor breaches to enforcement officers.   

The ATA said they are working to find better fatigue management solutions by disrupting current thinking.    

"Technology could play a huge role in guiding and improving business and driver behaviour around fatigue management, but the current system doesn't include what is known about the science of sleep," ATA CEO Ben Maguire said.  

"The conversation about fatigue must change. Drivers are individuals and fatigue is a biological state. Not everybody functions the same way or has the same health status.

Prescribing the exact hours and minutes is no longer showing results," he said.  

The ATA has initiated a driver fatigue management hackathon, to be held at Trucking Australia in April 2018.  

An opportunity for developers to challenge thinking about driver fatigue management and investigate innovative ideas that can advance the industry and save lives.  

Trucking Australia delegates will question the developers, apply their practical expertise and select the best idea to take forward.    

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