Fox's black-box won't be fast-tracked

Lindsay Fox pushes black box recording in trucks, leading to claims the technology will be accelerated

By Brad Gardner | February 15

Trucking industry icon Lindsay Fox is pushing the installation of black box recorders, but the Rudd Government has dismissed claims they will be fast-tracked.

During a meeting of Asia-Pacific transport ministers last week, Fox outlined the benefits of recording driver movements and proposed their use in all commercial vehicles.

"This is all about doing something to ensure that our drivers that go to work come home and sleep in their own beds at night," Fox told the transport ministers.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) attended the meeting and claims transport ministers from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand are now working together to accelerate the use of GPS technology.

But a spokesman for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese dismissed the claims and says the Government is already operating to a timeline on the technology and will stick to it.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) currently looking at the feasibility of electronic monitoring and is not due to report its findings until the second half of the year.

"There is no fast-tracking," the spokesman says.

"Nothing is being fast-tracked, nothing has changed."

However the ATA plans on submitting proposals on using new technologies for trucks, which includes hybrid engines, active braking systems and lane assist systems.

"The ATA will now work with our members and suppliers to submit practical, affordable and fair options to the [Federal] Government to increase the use of these technologies," ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn says.

"The black boxes would enable investigators to pinpoint the causes of accidents and make safety recommendations to stop them from happening again. The data from the recorders would not be admissible in court."

The NTC has recommended using electronic monitoring as an alternative to paper work diaries.

A communiqué from the transport ministers meeting says ministers endorsed a proposal to identify hurdles to improving the flow of goods between economies and encourage the fast-tracking of new safety and environmental technologies.

The meeting was hosted by Albanese, who reiterated the importance of national heavy vehicle regulations and use of technology to improve safety and productivity.

The ministers also agreed to document and exchange information on the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns to increase road safety and approaches to planning and funding road infrastructure.

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