Hannifey voices concern over HVNL review process

Warning of drivers being alienated by hefty content and lack of time

Hannifey voices concern over HVNL review process
Rod Hannifey


Road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has voiced his concerns about the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review, saying the length and content of the issues papers may make it difficult for drivers to provide feedback.

The first two papers, on a risk-based approach to regulation and effective fatigue management, were released for public consultation by the National Transport Commission (NTC) in late March and late May respectively, comprising 76 and 56 pages each.

Eight issues papers are due in total.

The first item’s consultation period ends on May 31, and Hannifey is worried drivers may lack the time to absorb the documents and provide a measured response.

"I welcome the intent, but am concerned it is too long-winded for most and will even scare drivers off the rest of the papers," he says.

"Seventy pages to read and 12 questions to answer for the first document, and now 60 pages for the second.

"I have spent seven hours on it now, including reading the other submissions and few if any will do that for one document, let alone eight."

Read NatRoad’s submission to the NTC on HVNL reform, here

Hannifey says the feedback he has received on the road supports his contention.

"Every driver who I have spoken to has said: ‘How many pages? I haven’t got the time for that.'

"They want to see change, but they don’t have the time to do so in this format."

"I think this is the biggest problem: few will be able to spend that time and will then not contribute, and so those most affected by these laws will not consider they have the chance to offer valid comment."

He says that, while there has been adequate publicity for the HVNL review, he hopes it doesn’t become a missed opportunity for industry.

"The review has been well publicised in industry media and I have tried to do my bit as well, but looking at the number of submissions so far, I am concerned they [NTC] have missed the mark.

"This review process will cost a lot, but will we get good value from it?

"It needs to be more succinct and direct.

"Yes, the microsite welcomes views with a limited number of characters, as in a tweet, but can you explain 600 plus pages of our current law like that? No.

"Is it hard to get it right? Yes – I agree it is not easy, but I doubt we will ever get this chance again and that is why I am raising these issues now.

"I did ask for this to be made easy for drivers to contribute to when it was first mooted, but fear it may be too late now."


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