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NHVR shares driver safety recommendations

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has made a number of recommendations to support driver safety in response to the National Transport Commission’s issues paper Safe People and Practices, the fourth paper released as part of the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

NHVR Business Improvement and Innovation Director, David Carlisle, said that safety was at the heart of the NHVR and reforms to the HVNL would support better outcomes across the industry.

“Core to the reforms we are recommending is a shift to risk-based regulation that improves safety outcomes for everyone, instead of just focusing on the minority who do the wrong thing,” said Carlisle.

“We think it’s important to adjust the traditional prescriptive regulatory approach, which relies heavily on on-road enforcement and sanctions to instead place a greater emphasis on the way we work with industry and the broader supply chain to make the industry safer across the board.

“This includes initiatives like introducing a safety duty for heavy vehicle and componentry manufacturers, with poorly manufactured vehicles and parts regularly cited by stakeholders as causing fires, breakdowns and resulting crashes.

“There’s currently very limited recourse for operators in these situations, a clear gap in the existing law,” he said.

Other recommendations include:

  • Empower NHVR to develop new safety standards to address issues as they arise.
  • Investigate driver attraction and retention as a critical safety issue.
  • Introduce a shared responsibility for fitness to drive.
  • Promote better proactive driver health management.
  • Deliver a single national heavy vehicle driver licensing framework.
  • Adoption of a medical model for the management of drug and alcohol.
  • Investigate distraction detection technology.

“The reforms are part of a significant cultural shift delivering better safety outcomes across the heavy vehicle industry and the broader supply chain, reinforced by the NHVR’s investigations and prosecutions teams undertaking a number of investigations where safety breaches have occurred,” said Carlisle. “We believe many of these improvements are an obligation, not a choice, to deliver a stronger and more flexible platform to improve industry safety and productivity.”

Earlier this month, the NHVR launched a road safety campaign with the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

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