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Prime Mover Magazine

Trucking Australia - A time for action and planning for the future: Teletrac Navman

Collaboration was key at Trucking Australia 2019, according to Teletrac Navman, with technology providers, industry experts and stakeholders gathered to discuss the big issues for the trucking industry.

What set this year apart was not only the discussion around fatigue, Heavy Vehicle National Law and rest areas, but the strong emphasis on two-way conversation. This was especially evident at the collaboration sessions hosted by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Teletrac Navman.

“This year we made a very conscious effort to invite owner operators, as well as the larger transport companies, and it really paid off,” said ATA Safety and Skills Advisor, Melissa Weller. “It meant that there was diverse representation of the trucking industry and everyone had their voices heard”.

Collaborate and listen

Off the back of last year's FatigueHACK, the ATA teamed up once again with Teletrac Navman. Attendees were given the choice to participate in one of three sessions that each covered a specific issue: fatigue management, rest areas and road access.

“FatigueHACK wasn’t a one-off for us. The insights that came about really demonstrated a passion to make the industry a better place. The industry support these teams received, and continue to receive, is amazing to see. We wanted to once again give the industry the chance to speak up”, said Weller.

In comparison to traditional sessions, entrants were grouped into teams of five rather than discussing ideas among a large group. They were then tasked to brainstorm solutions in a limited amount of time.

“When you get people working in a smaller group, you find that people are more confident to give their insights and you end up with a lot more information. This lets us better understand everyone’s priorities”, said Weller.

A willingness to embrace technology, the need to improve the road access system and steps to improve rest areas, such as ensuring the rest area is not on a slope and there is separation between light and heavy vehicles to ensure drivers get quality rest, were just some of the insights to come out of the sessions.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Another session that generated a lot of interest was the mental health and wellbeing session. For truck drivers, factors such as fatigue, isolation and access to fresh food and water can lead to a decline in their mental health. While many resources exist to help recognise signs and offer support, many drivers do not access help due to the stigma of mental illness. A truck is not your average workplace and the session discussed the need for an industry-specific strategy.

“We don’t need to necessarily reinvent the wheel, but what we do need is something in place that’s tailored to our industry, so we can reach everyone”, said Weller. The ATA plans to take the insights from the session and begin the first draft of an industry mental health strategy.

By adding a few new elements and opening up communication, the ATA successfully put on a thought provoking and integrated experience at this year’s Trucking Australia.

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