There is a perception that heavy vehicle drivers are tough and the industry is tougher. But on the eve of Mental Health Day, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO, Sal Petroccitto is calling for greater awareness to ensure drivers have the support they need.
While the NHVR has a critical part to play in helping to ensure the safety of the heavy vehicle transport industry and its people, greater awareness and understanding is needed by both the community and those on the front line.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says heavy vehicle drivers face significant pressures to perform safely – from tight delivery timeframes and management of their work and rest to sharing the road with an increasing number of recreational and professional drivers.
"There are a multitude of facets which affect drivers and their ability to manage fatigue which can ultimately place them and other road users at risk," Mr Petroccitto said.
Fatigue guidelines ensure the industry is effectively managing work and rest periods and the NHVR aims to provide flexible fatigue management practices that balance freight efficiency with safe operations.
Mr Petroccitto said when it comes to management of work and rest times for these heavy vehicle drivers, the NHVR also wants to highlight to all road users that heavy vehicles have much fewer options available when it comes to taking a break from driving.
"Driver fatigue is a major concern and industry has shown a commitment to tackling it through the implementation of fatigue management systems to more effectively manage driver work and rest periods.
"These systems improve the safety of all road users but they can only work if drivers are able to manage their journey through having appropriate and timely access to designated heavy vehicle rest areas.
"When a rest area is full of cars or recreational vehicles, heavy vehicle drivers are placed in a position where they can't safely meet these requirements.
"The NHVR is working to keep all road users safe by implementing safe and effective fatigue management systems. We all have a role to play in keeping the roads safe and the message about all drivers sharing our roads and road assets is getting through.
"However, we want to highlight the unforeseen and unintended flow-on effects from the general public using the 'heavy vehicle only' rest areas," said Mr Petroccitto.
Dianne Carroll from trans-help foundation, a national transport support service, said driving trucks can be an isolating job and ignoring stress factors can be deadly.
"There is great anxiety from drivers around compliance and it is great to hear that the NHVR plays its role in educating, simplifying and clarifying compliance for drivers," said Mrs Carroll.
Contact: Jillian Bagnall | 07 3309 8605