THE National Road Transport Association has lodged a submission with the Productivity Commission supporting the Commission’s investigation into the industry safety.

The PC is due to release a draft report in November examining policies to address improvements in transport industry safety.

“We strongly support a fresh assessment of the economic benefits to the Australian economy of introducing a set of policies that promote efficiency and consistency in the regulation of heavy vehicles and better integrating Australia’s transport networks,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said,

“The Productivity Commission’s main goal is to look at all areas of the transport industry and answer the question as to whether the changes introduced by governments in the early part of this decade have been beneficial.”

Mr Clark said it was unfortunate there was no evidence to substantiate any improvement or worsening in the safety record is linked to the passage of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

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“There is a need for much better research on the underlying causes of heavy vehicle road incidents and the key factors involved with identifying trends and patterns, a matter common to all elements of road safety,” he said.

“The HVNL represents far from best practice safety regulation. In the submission, NatRoad has used the example of fatigue management laws to highlight this point.”

The example of fatigue-related incidents shows that there appears to be no measurable beneficial effect of the passage of the HVNL in controlling the risk of fatigue-related incidents, according to NatRoad.

“Yet the HVNL has a very large number of highly prescriptive provisions directed to the control of the risk of driving whilst fatigued, centered around a range of pedantic administrative rules that members constantly give us feedback about,” Mr Clarke said. “They just don’t work in a practical way.”

National transport insurance data reported by the National Transport Accident Research Centre shows a consistent level of fatigue incidents as a proportion of large losses from 2009 to 2017. This figure was at 10% in 2009 and 9.8% in 2017.

“The current HVNL review, as well as the Productivity Commission’s scrutiny of the transport sector, must result in changed laws that are more fit for purpose,” Mr Clark said.

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