ATA calls for transition to tachographs

ATA criticises governments for deciding to fast-track digital tachographs without trialling them

ATA calls for transition to tachographs
ATA calls for transition to tachographs

The trucking lobby has criticised governments for pushing ahead with digital tachographs, after they decided to fast-track the introduction of the monitoring device without testing them.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) wants the nation’s transport ministers to reconsider their decision to forego a trial, and has called for a transition period to tachographs.

The ATA’s David Simon says operators must be allowed to test the fatigue and speed monitoring device against existing fleet management systems to ensure their "effectiveness, robustness and trustworthiness".

"Trials, pilots or beta tests are an essential part of every complex technology project because no team of bureaucrats, programmers or operators can foresee everything that can happen in the real world," Simon says.

The ATA says a transition may also reduce the financial burden on operators that have already installed monitoring technology in their trucks.

In a letter to stakeholders, Austroads Freight Program Manager Philip Halton said tachographs would be linked to the Intelligent Access Program

But Simon says the decision means companies with onboard technology will be adversely affected because the IAP framework is not compatible with existing fleet management systems.

The ATA says information from a transition period can be used to alter the IAP framework to bring it in line with systems companies are already using.

Unless governments agree to the demand, the peak trucking body has warned governments the industry may baulk at tachographs or be forced to install duplicate systems.

"They simply wouldn’t be able to justify the cost of replacing their existing fleet management systems, which are well integrated into their business and IT systems," he says.

Simon says current technology can meet government requirements and produce records that can be verified and audited.

"All we need are specifications that would enable operators to use their existing fleet management systems, which in many cases already have the capability to record speed and driving hours," he says.

Halton says tachograph specifications will be developed alongside an impact assessment during the first half of 2009.

The Australian Transport Council (ATC), which is made up of Australia’s transport ministers, decided during its November meeting to scrap the tachograph trials.

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