The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is partnering with police across the country to combat fatigue related heavy vehicle crashes this holiday season.
Operation Forager, as it is known, will commence on Monday, 20 November, and will run for four weeks across NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, ACT and TAS.
The joint operation is being run to raise greater awareness about the importance of managing fatigue when driving and providing information across the heavy vehicle industry in regard to on-road compliance and staying safe on the roads during the busy holiday period.
Heavy vehicle driver fatigue is one of the three biggest killers on Australian roads.
NHVR is reminding drivers, according to NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto, to ensure they are well rested before setting out on their journey this holiday season.
“In the past year there have been 167 fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles in Australia and 190 lives lost,” he said.
“While the holiday season is a fantastic time for families and holidaymakers, more road users mean it’s critical for heavy vehicle drivers to be extra cautious,” said Petrocitto.
“We know we have fantastic drivers and operators doing the right thing, so we need them to keep up the good work by practicing safe behaviours, like focusing on rest, taking meal breaks and looking after themselves on the road.”
For anyone on the road feeling the five signs of fatigue – inattention, irregular body movements, erratic vehicle movements, dull sensory alertness, or poor concentration – Petrocitto said it means it’s time to listen to your body and take a break.
“Drivers may be impaired even when complying with work and rest limits,” he said.
“So, even if you’re within your work and rest parameters, if you’re feeling the effects of fatigue this holiday season, it’s important to rest.”
NHVR Chief Operations Officer Paul Salvati said NHVR on-road officers will be patrolling locations frequented by long haul intrastate and interstate heavy vehicles across the country.
“With the road toll in almost every state and territory still too high, the safety of all drivers on the road is our number one priority,” said Salvati.
“As part of our inform, educate and enforce approach we are working with industry to raise better awareness of the extreme risk that fatigue presents.
“Over the past year, the NHVR has undertaken more than 2,100 hours of roadside education focused on fatigue and work diaries, with heavy vehicle drivers.
“Both mental and physical health issues are overrepresented in heavy vehicle drivers, so it’s also important to understand the medical conditions prevalent in the industry.
“The NHVR has proactively developed a range of resources for drivers to assist with their fitness to drive and these can be accessed through the NHVR website.”