Trucking Australia 2018 conference
Trucking Australia 2018 conference

TRUCKING AUSTRALIA: Message is increasing driver safety

INCREASING driver safety is the overarching message at Trucking Australia 2018, the annual conference of the Australian Trucking Association in Canberra this week.

ATA chair Geoff Crouch reiterated the industry's commitment to exploring ways of reducing  fatalities and serious injuries by asking delegates if they'd meet again in coming months for a special two-day summit on the issue.

Almost three-quarters of the 400 representatives in the auditorium indicated their willingness to attend.

"The ATA has long argued that the only acceptable number of injuries or deaths is zero," Mr Crouch said in his opening address.

He said the ATA had come a long way since forming in the wake of the 1989 Grafton truck collision with a bus that killed 21 people.

But conceded that there is still more work to be done to ensure all industry drivers return home safely.

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who grew up driving his father's grain trucks in Wagga Wagga, gave his assurance he had the industry's best interests at heart.

The new Minister for Infrastructure and Transport told delegates that he appreciated that it may appear change happens at a "glacial pace" but he is committed to making Australian roads safer for everyone.

As a measure of his affinity with trucking Mr McCormack also took time to meet the groups participating in the first hackathon to find new solutions to solving the ongoing problem of driver fatigue.

Eight teams spent the last 48 hours brainstorming ways to help, with the top three selected to present to delegates.

In a close contest, Augmented Intelligence won the $6000 industry choice award for its ECG-measuring steering wheel which also worked in tandem with advising drivers  when to take a rest, and where.

Team spokesperson Andrew Hammond said the prize money would be reinvested into further development of a concept he's hoping the industry will eventually adopt.

The conference concludes with a gala awards dinner at the National Arboretum tonight.

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