Protecting the safety of all road users and reducing the road toll is a national priority, with the skill and knowledge level of drivers being a critical ingredient in road safety.

The Transport and Logistics’ Industry Reference Committee is working on a project to specifically address the skills and knowledge requirements of heavy vehicle drivers with a view to further improving safety levels. The trucks of today have many additional safety features, but it still comes down to the driver, and their level of skill, to react appropriately to prevent incidents and accidents.

The project will improve those aspects of training that have been identified by various agencies and industry bodies including Austroads, the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies. It will focus on including the skills and knowledge required for drivers to interact with all road users safely and to manage emergencies or unexpected events.

Industry operators with extensive driving experience and regulators are working within a Technical Advisory Committee to incorporate skills into the various skills standards, or Units of Competency. The revised units will provide heavy vehicle drivers with base-level skills on which they can build as they progress through various licence categories.

Speaking about the timeliness of this project, Cathi Payne from Payne Haulage in WA, and Deputy Chair of the Transport and Logistics IRC said:

“We’ve always known there was much more to being a heavy vehicle driver than steering the truck, while business improvements and regulatory changes mean the industry now seeks an even higher level of skill and professionalism in the service of safe and efficient operations. The considerable interest shown in participating in the Heavy Vehicle Driver Safety and Professionalism TAC is evidence of wide-spread industry support and I’m looking forward to seeing the development of skills standards that better meet the current and future needs of industry and its participants. Helping our drivers to recognise the skills they already have and to further develop them through improved road-craft and better response to other road-users and situations around them will help to meet our business requirements and improve how the industry is viewed by the general public.”

The IRC needs your help to ensure the revisions to the training package capture everything possible to make drivers safer, so invites you to provide feedback and input into the draft units of competency. Make sure you’re subscribed to the AIS website to find out when the drafts will be available for comment.

Courtesy of Australian Industry Standards