THE truck driver licensing system is an insult to Australia's expert, hard working truck drivers and must be fixed Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire said.
Mr Maguire was responding to the results of an independent review of the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework. The review was published this month.
"Australia's transport ministers commissioned the review in response to the ATA's concerns about driver training. In fact, we called for this review in the run up to the 2016 federal election," Mr Maguire said.
"The review is now done. Its findings show that the current truck driver licensing system is inadequate.
"The review shows, for example, that the current heavy rigid training unit (TLILIC2016) fails to address six out of the ten safety risks it identifies. The unit only partly addresses the other four out of ten.
"The poor quality of the driver training system is an insult to Australia's expert, hard-working truck drivers, who have spent many years learning their profession.
"It's also an insult to the many driver trainers that are committed to safety, such as ATA member DECA Training, which offers outstanding post-licence courses for drivers who want to be recognised as professionals.
"When Australia's transport ministers meet on Friday, they need to consider the results of this review and take urgent action," he said.
Mr Maguire dismissed the argument that improving driver licensing might worsen the shortage of truck drivers.
"There is a shortage of new starters in the trucking industry, but it's due to the image of the industry and the image of truck driving as a career. By improving the professionalism of the industry, strengthening driver training would make driving more, not less, attractive as a career," he said.