Cooperation is key to unlocking safety and productivity with new tech: Petroccitto

The heavy vehicle industry should unite to unlock the safety and productivity gains of new technology, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO, Sal Petroccitto, told delegates at a conference this week.

The NHVR, alongside government officials and members of the transport industry, participated in the Victorian Transport Association’s VTA State Conference 2021 which is being held 21-23 March at Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island.

Petroccitto cited the NHVR’s trial of Fatigue Distraction Detection Technology as a blueprint for cooperation between operators and the regulator.

“There is widespread agreement that counting time is not an effective measure of managing fatigue, as fatigue is unique to individuals,” said Petroccitto.

“We know that to properly manage fatigue safety risks we need to collectively manage individual driver fatigue relating to fitness to drive.

“One of the key tools in helping to manage individual driver fatigue is Fatigue Distraction Detection Technology.

“We know the benefits of this technology and its ability to contribute to saving lives by alerting drivers to incidents before they occur.

“We want to foster this life-saving technology, which is why we are launching a pilot of this technology to understand how it can be recognised in a regulatory framework.

“The pilot starts in May with a small and contained group of operators and we are hoping to expand the pilot to more operators in November.

“We think this is the right approach to take with technology – a partnership model whereby the interested parties work together to understand the benefits for everyone.

“It’s also important that the legislation is neutral with respect to technology.

“You have made a significant investment in technology solutions to meet your individual business needs and as governments we should leverage the systems you already have in place.

“We support the model we developed for Electronic Work Diaries – whereby the regulator sets the performance standards, not the type of technology, and we enable the market to meet the standard.”

Petroccitto said the NHVR was also using technology to support its modern, intelligence-led approach to regulation.

He said key regulatory services for access, accreditation and vehicle standards had already been transitioned to the NHVR’s online portal – with Performance-Based Standards (PBS) services to follow.

The NHVR has also centralised all of its safety and compliance data in a state-of-the-art Safety and Compliance Regulatory Platform.

This information is now easily accessible to the NHVR’s roadside officers through a new tablet-based system developed with Motorola – the Regulatory Compliance Mobility Solution (RCMS).

Petroccitto said the new RCMS had cut the length of a typical intercept by 15 minutes.

“The RCMS allows our officers to make better, more informed decisions in a more efficient way – to target the greatest safety risks,” said Petroccitto.

“This means the NHVR has less impact on low-risk operators, with fewer and shorter intercepts to let you get on with doing business – which is the way it should be.”