ATA 2015: Roadside enforcement will be a thing of the past, Retter says

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner

National Transport Commission believes enforcement can be done remotely to target trucking operators breaking the law.

ATA 2015: Roadside enforcement will be a thing of the past, Retter says
Future thinking: NTC CEO Paul Retter believes emerging technologies will change the way authorities enforce heavy vehicle laws.


The head of the National Transport Commission (NTC) has foreshadowed a future where trucking operators and their drivers will no longer need to deal with roadside enforcement. 

NTC CEO Paul Retter believes advances in in-vehicle technology, such as telematics and electronic work diaries, will usher in a new method of detecting and prosecuting dodgy trucking operators. 

Speaking at the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) Trucking Australia conference in Hobart, Retter told delegates new technologies give authorities the ability to detect breaches remotely from an office.

"It does give us the opportunity to change the way we look at compliance and reduce the regulator burden if we are smart," he says. 

"Quite frankly, the days of roadside enforcement are numbered if you believe in the use of technologies like electronic work diaries and the like."

Retter says authorities can use technology to focus their efforts on trucking operators with a record of flouting the law, while those who run compliant operations will no longer need to be held up at the roadside. 

"It is not men in blue or enforcement officers standing on the roadside. Inevitably that’s where we are going to go," he says.

"That will result — in my view — us picking up the people who deserve to be picked up, which are the ones who are making, shall we say, regular breaches of the law part of their business operation and deal with them and allow those people who make the odd small mistake or oversight go through to the keeper.

"That’s where we need to head."

Retter says he is discussing the issue with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

"And we are doing all we can to ensure there is going to be a change in culture and approach to the issue of compliance and enforcement as part of the take-up of technology," he says. 

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says he agrees with Retter that authorities will be able to use technology to monitor compliance remotely, particularly around electronic work diaries.

He has held discussions with state-based road authorities and has indicated there is support for changes to enforcement practices.

"Discussions that we have had with police and transport agenices show there is a preparedness to work to achieve that," Petroccitto says.

"They've got concerns, but it's quite positive that there's a willingness to actually move to that space.

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