Electronic diaries the death of drivers: Hannifey

<font color=red><b>E-DIARY DEBATE:</b></font> "No drivers left" if electronic monitoring introduced, industry veteran warns

Electronic diaries the death of drivers: Hannifey
Electronic diaries will be the death of drivers: Hannifey
By Brad Gardner | September 28, 2009

"There will no drivers left" if electronic monitoring is introduced, trucking veteran and safety advocate Rod Hannifey warns.

The Australian Trucking Association’s owner-driver representative has lashed out at a proposal to introduce electronic work diaries, fearing it may lead to an unprecedented level of scrutiny which drivers will not be able to cope with.

Electronic monitoring is capable of tracking a vehicle on a second-by-second basis. Because of this, Hannifey says drivers will be penalised regularly for minor issues such as going marginally over the speed limit and breaching a rest requirement by as little as one minute.

"With the inherent ability to monitor this to the second and the way drivers seem to be simply a cash cow on the road…there will be no drivers left," he says.

"If I am monitored to that level by authorities and then penalised for every minor indiscretion, I will not do this job anymore."

The TruckRight Industry Vehicle (TIV) driver made the comments in his response to a National Transport Commission (NTC) proposal for an alternative to paper-based reporting.

The Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) has recommended a national sanctions policy setting out what constitutes a minor breach to ensure drivers are not penalised for trivial mistakes.

Although the NTC has recommended electronic work diaries remain voluntary, Hannifey claims many drivers believe authorities will quickly be attracted by the ability to monitor drivers every second of the day.

Technology providers such as Fleet Effect want electronic diaries mandated and paper diaries scrapped, but Hannifey says this will not recognise the needs of truck drivers.

"It might well be argued it [electronic monitoring] is in the interest of road safety, but I am a human and not a robot and need some flexibility, empathy and understanding of my job and its inherent difficulties," Hannifey says.

Like other people, Hannifey says he is prone to make mistakes but they should not cost him "my job or my family the food off their table".

But similar to Fleet Effect, the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) wants electronic diaries linkedto the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

Unlike the RTA, the ATA wants a scheme whereby companies will be free to use their existing monitoring systems.

The NTC was tasked with looking at electronic work diaries earlier this year and asked to submit a policy proposal to the Australian Transport Council (ATC) based on the feedback it receives to its position paper.

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