Electronic work diaries policy to boost road transport safety

Wednesday, 03 November, 2010

The National Transport Commission (NTC) ‘Electronic Systems for Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue and Speed Compliance’ draft policy paper - developed in consultation with industry and government stakeholders - proposes a way forward for industry and regulators on allowing the voluntary use of electronic work diaries to monitor heavy vehicle work and rest hours. It also addresses the use of technology to monitor speed compliance.

With fatigue and speed among the major contributing factors of heavy vehicle crashes in Australia, NTC Senior Manager Dr Jeff Potter said technologies that allow operators to manage risks as they happen would have widespread safety benefits for industry, government and the community.

“We know that many transport operators are already using electronic work diaries to beneficially manage speed and fatigue compliance in real time,” Dr Potter said. “Because there are no regulatory standards for assessing electronic work diaries, operators who choose to use these electronic devices must still record the trips they take and the hours that they work and rest on paper, resulting in unnecessary duplication.

“The proposed policy paper gives operators the flexibility to continue with the current paper-based system or use electronic work diaries while still meeting regulatory standards.

“We expect that this will lead to greater adoption of these technologies as potential designers and users of the electronic work diaries will be able to invest in these technologies with confidence.

“We have also been careful to ensure that the draft policy paper only details the minimum requirements of how the electronic diary should function, leaving room for industry to innovate and minimise uptake costs to any small businesses which may wish to invest in these technologies.”

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) on behalf of Austroads has developed an electronic work diary specification to complement the policy proposal, which is also being made available for consultation. The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority will conduct an operational pilot of electronic work diaries and speed monitoring devices to test how the recommendations can be practically applied in the day-to-day operations of regulators and industry.

Dr Potter said stakeholder feedback will be important in developing the right policy for Australia’s road freight industry and encouraged interested stakeholders to make a submission.

The NTC draft policy paper and Austroad’s ‘Performance-based Specification for Electronic Work Diary and Heavy Vehicle Speed Monitoring’ (draft for public comment) are available from www.ntc.gov.au for public comment until 10 December 2010.

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