Hannifey takes aim at heavy-handed enforcement


Trucking advocate wants simplified road laws and over-zealous law enforcement addressed under national heavy vehicle laws

Hannifey takes aim at heavy-handed enforcement
Hannifey takes aim at heavy-handed enforcement
By Brad Gardner | May 13, 2011

Road laws must be simplified and steps taken to address heavy-handed road enforcement agencies under national heavy vehicle regulations, trucking advocate Rod Hannifey says.

The tireless industry promoter has told the National Transport Commission (NTC) the existing set-up of different police agencies and government departments enforcing various road laws cannot continue.

In a written response to the NTC’s draft regulatory impact statement on national heavy vehicle regulations, Hannifey says truck drivers are under intense scrutiny and subject to a number of different interpretations of road laws.

"Not only do we need one set of rules for the drivers to be able to understand and comply with, we need standard training and interpretation for those who administer and police these laws," Hannifey says.

He says there is a real fear and concern among drivers over the level of enforcement, claiming it has left many stressed and fatigued from dealing with over-zealous authorities.

"A fine for a minor error or discrepancy, could mean they cannot feed their family for the week, or have virtually worked the week for nothing," Hannifey writes in his submission.

He takes aim at authorities who he says enjoy issuing defect notices for minor problems. Hannifey argues drivers struggle to rectify the breaches in the short timeframe given.

His submission calls for better coordination of enforcement activities to ensure drivers are not continually held up. Hannifey says he has seen enforcement activity at West Wyalong, Forbes, Dubbo and Goondiwindi in one day.

"The driver who inadvertently or otherwise gets stopped at each of these sites will be getting pretty upset and surely this is not the best use of enforcement personal [sic]," he says.

With national regulations tipped to have a strong chain of responsibility focus, Hannifey wants action to address long queuing times at distribution centres.

He says drivers are expected to wait for five hours without pay yet are expected to always arrive on time to load or unload freight.

"I am working on a document to send to these sites to make some start to addressing this, but as an individual driver, this will be hard," he writes.

In his submission, Hannifey reiterates his long-held view that there are not enough rest areas to accommodate truck drivers, particular those operating B-doubles, B-triples and road trains.

Industry feedback to the draft regulatory impact statement will be used by the NTC to inform targeted consultation sessions before a final proposal on national laws is sent to Australia’s transport ministers to vote on later this year.

Hannifey wants information forums held in truckstops to allow as many drivers as possible to participate in the process. He has also invited NTC staff to travel with him on the highways to get a view of what truck drivers must contend with on a daily basis.

National heavy vehicle regulations are due to be introduced in 2013 to streamline regulatory inconsistencies that have plagued trucking operators.

They will be overseen by a national regulator based in Queensland. Trucking operators will be able to deal with the authority on issues such as registration and vehicle access instead of approaching multiple state and local government agencies.


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