The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has partnered with police to conduct a national operation to combat fatigue related heavy vehicle crashes this holiday season.
The joint operation is being run to raise greater awareness about the importance of managing fatigue when driving and providing information across the heavy vehicle industry regarding on-road compliance and staying safe on the roads during the busy holiday period.
Operation Forager starts today (November 20) and will run for four weeks across NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, ACT and TAS.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says heavy vehicle driver fatigue is one of the three biggest killers on our roads.
“In the past year there have been 167 fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles in Australia and 190 lives lost,” Petroccitto says.
“While the holiday season is a fantastic time for families and holidaymakers, more road users mean it’s critical for heavy vehicle drivers to be extra cautious.
The NHVR is reminding drivers to ensure they are well rested before setting out on their journey this holiday season.
“We know we have fantastic drivers and operators doing the right thing, so we need them to keep up the good work by practicing safe behaviours, like focusing on rest, taking meal breaks and looking after themselves on the road,” Petroccitti says.
“For anyone on the road feeling the five signs of fatigue – inattention, irregular body movements, erratic vehicle movements, dull sensory alertness, or poor concentration – that means it’s time to listen to your body and take a break.
“Drivers may be impaired even when complying with work and rest limits.
“So, even if you’re within your work and rest parameters, if you’re feeling the effects of fatigue this holiday season, it’s important to rest.”
NHVR COO Paul Salvati says on-road officers will be patrolling locations frequented by long haul intrastate and interstate heavy vehicles across the country.
“With the road toll in almost every state and territory still too high, the safety of all drivers on the road is our number one priority,” Salvati says.
“As part of our inform, educate and enforce approach we are working with industry to raise better awareness of the extreme risk that fatigue presents.
The operation comes after the NHVR’s most recent campaign in NSW.
Operation Drive Time saw NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers focus on heavy vehicle driver fatigue, work diary and heavy vehicle speed compliance for all fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles.
“Over the past year, the NHVR has undertaken more than 2,100 hours of roadside education focused on fatigue and work diaries, with heavy vehicle drivers,” Salvati says.
“Both mental and physical health issues are overrepresented in heavy vehicle drivers, so it’s also important to understand the medical conditions prevalent in the industry.
“The NHVR has proactively developed a range of resources for drivers to assist with their fitness to drive and these can be accessed through the NHVR website.”
With the pressure on the freight industry increasing during the holiday season, the NHVR encourages drivers who feel pressured by their employer to drive while fatigued to call the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Hotline on 1800 931 785.