The Aussie government has made the connection between truck related deaths and rates of pay, while our government continues to pretend that squeezing drivers’ pay through unfair contracting has no impact on our death and injury toll.
The Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins has released a discussion paper, which canvasses a range of practical strategies to reduce deaths and improve road safety in the heavy transport industry.
Called the “Safe Rates, Safe Roads” paper, it explores options for a national approach to truck drivers’ pay and conditions and safety measures across the industry.
Built on the back of a Safe Rates Advisory Group set up by the Labor government last term, the government has managed to bring the industry, unions and other road users together for an honest appraisal of the problems of speed and fatigue in the road transport industry and the economic incentives for drivers to engage in unsafe work practices.
The Australians have come up with a clear body of evidence linking pay rates to safety on their roads. Like here, drivers feel pressure to work long hours to meet schedules, leading to work time breaches, speeding and cutting corners on maintenance.
The discussion paper examines a system of safe pay rates so drivers can work legally and safely and at the same time ensure that everyone is safe on the roads.
Meanwhile, we have “Safer Journeys” and the associated legislation which is due to be reported back in a week or so. A lot about young drivers and the BAC, but not much in it about trucks, even although we know the road freight task is going to double in the next couple of decades.
All we get is bigger trucks.