New laws to protect truck drivers
PETER McClintock, operator of the family-owned trucking business McClintock’s Transport, is unfazed by new laws which give truck drivers protection from unachievable work demands.
He sees the laws as a good thing but admits to being a little sceptical as to how well it will work in practice.
“The concept is good, but it could be hard to police,” he told The Gympie Times yesterday.
Introduced on Thursday, employers, operators, prime contractors, loading managers, schedulers and consignors will be responsible for protecting drivers from the influence to speed.
Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said operators will now be significantly fined for tampering with speed limiters or having contracts with other parties that provide incentive for drivers to speed.
“In the past, only drivers have been the target for heavy vehicle speeding compliance, but from (Thursday) off-road parties who aren’t behind the wheel will also be the focus, making them more accountable for ensuring drivers aren’t influenced to speed because of unrealistic work demands,” Ms Nolan said.
“The laws are preventative in nature and give drivers protection from unachievable work demands that may cause them to speed while on the job.”
Mr McClintock said their business already had good fatigue management in place.
“It’s nothing we’re going to be scared of,” he said.
“In this day and age, everyone should know better than to try and push it by speeding.”
Transport inspectors will enforce the new changes, with penalties ranging from $300 to $8000 for off-road parties, depending on the seriousness of the breach, with repeat offenders likely to face the more significant fines.
The new laws apply to all heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 4.5 tonnes.
“With the number of heavy vehicles on the roads set to increase due to growing freight demands, the introduction of the new speed laws will mean safer roads for all road users,” Ms Nolan said.
Research conducted by the National Transport Commission indicated there would be a 29 per cent reduction in heavy vehicle crashes if all heavy vehicle speeding was eliminated.