Electronic work diaries (EWD) can be safety advantage

Centre for Road Safety General Manager, Marg Prendergast, has announced the release of the Final Report for the $5 million project assessing electronic work diaries (EWD). The project was established by Transport for NSW to examine how electronic diaries might better ensure heavy vehicle operators didn’t spend too long behind the wheel or take shorter than legal rest breaks.

The pilot’s findings are now being handed down and shared with the trucking industry bodies. The pilot assessed how EWDs fared for safety, acceptability, technical feasibility, legislation and policy, cost benefit and speed monitoring.

“While the final report identified that some challenges remained in implementation, it concluded that electronic work diaries are feasible from economic, technical, operational and regulatory perspectives,” said Prendergast. “The pilot found there were safety and productivity benefits for regulators and operators after initial set-up costs of electronic work diaries, and that more reliable work and rest data would make it easier for drivers and operators to comply with fatigue rules and address compliance risks and inefficiencies.

“Improved compliance with fatigue rules is expected to contribute to a reduction in heavy vehicle crashes, as these rules are based on expert advice regarding minimisation of driver fatigue.”

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will now address implementation issues and develop a detailed implementation plan for electronic work diaries. Richard Hancock, CEO of the NHVR, congratulated the NSW Government for taking the initiative to implement electronic work diaries and is glad Australia will begin using technology that is used in other parts of the world.

“Australia is normally a global leader in road transport innovation and yet an early type of electronic work diary has been in use in Europe for many years, and newer types are now entering use in the United States,” said Hancock. “It’s time for Australia to reclaim our international leadership position.

“The specifications developed in this pilot will see us leap ahead of what’s in place overseas. It’s a sophisticated system that will meet Australia’s unique needs and conditions, and the report shows that an electronic work diary will be affordable and attractive for voluntary take-up by industry.

“I’d like to thank the NSW Government for funding this work, and also thank other State Governments, the Commonwealth and the Australian truck and bus industry for their enthusiastic and constructive participation in the national pilot.”

The National Transport Commission is considering legislative issues associated with the national adoption of electronic work diaries and Transport Certification Australia has released the pilot technical specifications for public comment.

The final report can be found at the Transport for NSW website.

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