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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2018
80 ALC FORUM 2018 Heavy vehicle safety and productivity Heavy vehicle safety has been especially prominent in mainstream media during the early part of 2018, and this discussion looked at ways to achieve policy reforms that would not only enhance safety, but also improve industry productivity. Session chair Geoff Farnsworth, Partner at Holding Redlich, framed the discussion around the need for practicality. Regulators cannot audit every business, but it is necessary to strike the right balance between safety regulation and practical business requirements. John West, Managing Director of DGL Australia, and Chair of the ALC Safety Committee, highlighted the critical role that technology must play in the drive towards better safety. At the end of the day, the industry is still one that relies on human beings, and even the most talented and best-intentioned human beings make errors. We need to be doing more to facilitate the uptake of telematics within the industry. He noted that a great deal of responsibility is placed on today’s heavy vehicle drivers compared with those of just 20 years ago. In many respects, they are expected to be drivers, workplace health and safety officers, accountants and, increasingly, IT experts. Yet, the complexity of the role isn’t necessarily well-understood by governments and regulators, let alone the wider community. It will be important for the industry to do more in the future to change this perception – particularly in the interests of recruiting the next generation of its workforce. West also highlighted the role that technology can (and in his view, should) play in road pricing in the years to come. People in rural and regional areas who can only access roads of a limited standard should not have to pay the same amounts as those in urban areas who can access gold-standard road infrastructure. He noted some of the astonishing work that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been able to do with data in other fields over recent years, and expressed the hope that similar results could be achieved in relation to road pricing. Sal Petroccitto, Chairman of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), noted that his organisation is not merely a compliance body, but also has a productivity remit and thus is keenly interested in the capacity of data and technology to enhance efficiency. That said, there is no doubt that making more effective use of data would be a boon to compliance. He suggested that in the future, enforcement could be based on data analysis to the extent that it ultimately John West, Susie Mackay, Sal Petroccitto and Paul Retter AM