Goodaye all. On Thursday I attended the NTC run Fatigue Co-design Workshop held in Sydney. There were about 60 people in attendance, many from interstate, associations and government bodies, a few from large companies and small and some drivers. Whilst the fatigue paper is currently out for submissions, this is the only formal meeting about the fatigue paper. It is 60 pages, but even if you don’t have the time to read and fully respond, please take the time to contribute. If there is one fatigue issue that really causes you problems, or you believe does not help you manage your fatigue and you can supply an example, if that is all you do, send it in.
If enough drivers complain of a similar problem and can show why it is a problem, that will be a powerful case for change. We did a number of sessions and discussion forums on a range of issues and each group tabled their outcomes. All of these were then discussed and debated by the whole group and will go into the data used to look at the problems raised in the paper and the submissions to it.
It was good to have a small group of drivers and a couple of small fleet people to get our views heard. There was support and recognition from others of some of our issues. I did raise the specific comment, that if you are looking at fatigue generally, then without good sleep and a place to have that good quality sleep, you cannot manage your fatigue. Lack of sleep not only leaves you tired, overtime it does and will affect your health. So until we have suitable and sufficient rest areas, decent size bunks on trucks and icepacks, some may well still get good sleep, but many won’t and fatigue will continue to be a problem. The lack of places within cities to park and sleep in a truck, is just as severe as on the highway.
Flexibility was the biggest request from drivers, not more hours, but the ability to manage our fatigue, to drive when fit and sleep when tired and not when a logbook, which does not know how you feel and can well work against you, tells you to. The logbook doesn’t care if there is no toilet, shade or anything else you may require, it just forces you to do what it requires under law, whether that is the best for your fatigue or not and of course, if you disagree and do what might be the best for you at the time, the logbook will punish you severely if you don’t do what it requires of you for legal compliance.
I am glad I attended, hope that those issues raised will be looked at in genuine good faith and I thank the NTC for the invite and help to be able to attend. I would have loved to have seen more than the two fulltime drivers in attendance, but believe we covered most of the issues well and as I said, others from different groups did seem to recognise and respect many of the points we raised.
Back to work today to see how a few repairs go on truck and trailers, having made the most of the time off to attend the meeting, getting a service and a diff attended to during my absence. Thanks also to Rod Pilon Transport for the time to attend. Whilst I stayed up late into early Wednesday morning to do my spot on Nightshift with Luke and Jess, I was working on my fatigue paper reply whilst waiting to go on air and I again implore you to contribute with submissions due in August, so you still have time to get your comments and issues in. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey