RMS breaking down the barriers in NSW

Truck drivers travelling north on the F3 through Mount White last Wednesday had a different experience from usual when the green arrow directed them to enter the Roads and Maritime Services checking station. 

This direction is usually viewed by drivers as an inconvenience at best and as most rolled up onto the weighbridge with their work diaries and licences at the ready, they were surprised to be warmly greeted by Roads and Maritime Services staff.

It wasn’t a new form of enforcement but a RMS “consultation day” at which they were invited to park their vehicles and enjoy a complimentary steak or sausage sandwich and a cold drink or a coffee and, importantly, the rare chance to talk informally with RMS personnel about such topics as work diary issues and vehicle compliance.

Some drivers declined the offer mainly due to their own schedules, but overall there was a good take up of the opportunity of some refreshment and friendly talk.

Driver Work Diaries continue to be an area of concern for some drivers and having an RMS officer assist and offer the right advice over a cup of coffee is preferable to struggling on their own with the sometimes complex regulations associated with fatigue management.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 heavy vehicles pass the northbound checking station at Mount White every 24 hours with around 100 usually being directed into the station for further examination during that period.

The approaches to both sides of the Mount White station are equipped with automated screening lanes which utilise Weigh-in-Motion, Safe-T-Cam and Truckscan technology to instantly perform checks including gross mass, group axle mass, vehicle height as well as registration and uncleared defect status. 

Safe-T-Cam data from other sites is used to assess speed and driver fatigue issues. The system also highlights vehicles with a history of non-compliance. A major benefit of this system is that the overwhelming majority of trucks can be redirected back onto the freeway with a minimum of delay.

Previous RMS consultation days have been held at other checking stations throughout the state and have proved beneficial for drivers and RMS staff alike.

Mark Leach, Industry Education Officer in the RMS Freight Branch told us that the aim of the consultation days was to “break down barriers” and to provide the opportunity for drivers to speak informally with the RMS about what are sometimes sensitive issues. Each driver was also provided with an information pack to take with them.

RMS consultation days will next be held at Chinderah in northern NSW on Thursday March 7, and at Mount Boyce near Blackheath on Wednesday March 20.

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