Transport Industry News

NatRoad welcomes government call for more rest areas

NatRoad

Industry body NatRoad has welcomed a NSW government inquiry into the lack of heavy vehicle rest areas in the state after it was tabled this week.

The NSW Legislative Council Committee on Transport and the Arts has created a number of recommendations regarding the pressures on heavy vehicle drivers and what can be done to solve them.

A greater number of rest areas is the first recommendation as stated in the report, ‘to ensure heavy vehicle drivers can effectively manage their fatigue and comply with relevant regulations’.

The committee recognised that a lack of adequate parking bays and sites is preventing drivers from being able to fully follow fatigue regulations. It found that both metropolitan and regional areas do not have enough rest areas.

“It is a big issue with our members, and we advocated strongly on their behalf,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

“I’m happy to say the committee members got our message.

“Rest areas may not be the sexiest of topics to anyone outside our industry, but they are a preoccupation for many drivers for reasons of safety and complying with the rules.”

The Committee has called on Transport for NSW to take all the necessary steps to find alternative rest areas for heavy vehicles while existing stops are closed for any reason, and give the necessary warning to the industry.

NatRoad has also welcomed the report’s call for the NSW government to fund and run a targeted education program for motorists about the importance of rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers.

It hopes to avoid cars and caravaners using these rest stops when they are more in need by heavy vehicle drivers.

Ahead of the 2023 holiday season, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator called for road users to be more aware of the needs of heavy vehicle drivers at rest stops.

Clark was also happy to see the Committee recommend the NSW government support the introduction of Austroads’ new competency-based driver training program as a part of its new licencing changes.

“It’s not good enough that someone moves up the licence ladder on the basis of how long they’ve held a qualification,” he says.

“We have long held the view that drivers issued with a heavy vehicle licence must have the skill sets and experience needed to drive a heavy vehicle.

“We welcome the committee’s concurrence with that view and look forward to continuing to work with all governments towards a national competency-based licencing system.”

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