New truck safety laws are coming. Are you ready?

Truck safety laws are changing and compliance is more important than ever.

On 1 October 2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will be amended to introduce a strong primary safety duty, extensions to the chain of responsibility to cover vehicle maintenance and repairs and explicit due diligence obligations on executives. The changes will require trucking businesses and customers to increase their focus on developing and maintaining appropriate safety systems.

The Australian Trucking Association and our member associations have argued for these changes since 2012, as part of our plan to improve truck safety while eliminating prescriptive red tape.

Australia is home to the fifth largest freight task in the world and is an essential component of the Australian economy. The changes to legislation and HVNL are important to the safety and viability of trucking businesses, and as the owner of a trucking business myself, I am glad the amendments are coming into effect as soon as possible.

These changes are about making sure businesses and operators have appropriate controls in place that protect themselves and their employees.
These include:

• implementing suitable business practices, training, procedures and review processes that help to identify and control risk
• meet reporting requirements, document actions taken to manage safety
• manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading and vehicle standard requirements

These law changes are fast approaching, and it’s important for all parties in the supply chain to be aware of their new responsibilities and the role they must play to ensure heavy vehicle safety, no matter whether a business has 10 employees or 100.
As regulations change, implementing technology solutions and joining accreditation schemes like the Australian Trucking Association’s TruckSafe will assist in chain of responsibility  compliance.

The demands of the Australian trucking industry are constantly changing, and it’s important that the appropriate technology is available to meet the requirements. Transport management systems, fleet maintenance management software, freight visibility technology, and routing and scheduling software are needed by transporters to keep an eye on all aspects of the supply chain in real time, driven by the requirement to comply with chain of responsibility  obligations.

At the Australian Trucking Association’s annual conference held in April, we heard from CTO of Trimble Transportation, Timothy Leonard, who noted the benefits of technology-based management systems and the use of blockchain.

Timothy uncovered the vital role blockchain plays in revolutionising freight tracking, proof of delivery, payments and more. Applied to the transport industry, it offers major advantages such as greater transparency, security and transaction speed. Timothy demonstrated that customers who had implemented blockchain into their daily operations and management systems had gained improved quality, safety and regulatory compliance.

In preparation for the HVNL amendments, with support from the Australian Government and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Australian Trucking Association and the Australian Logistics Council have developed a new master registered code of practice to help trucking businesses comply with the new law, manage risks and improve safety.

This code is designed to make businesses safer and ensure they are compliant with the new provisions. The ATA’s best-practice accreditation system, TruckSafe, will implement the master code to help members comply with the changes and make sure they’re covered.
Now is the time for trucking businesses to prepare for HVNL amendments and take action, whether it be implementing transport management systems or becoming TruckSafe accredited – or both.

Geoff Crouch
Australian Trucking Association

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