The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has said that it believes the National Transport Commission needs to go further in its pursuit of making its Fitness To Drive guidelines more user-friendly and push for serious reform.

NatRoad has lodged its submission to the NTC’s review of its  Assessing Fitness To Drive Guidelines (AFTD) and says that while it appreciates the Commission’s commitment to making the AFTD more readable, the review should have gone further.

“This is a policy area ripe for reform,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.

“We want new and expanded national fitness to drive standards and it’s disappointing that proposals we’ve put forward are viewed as ‘out of scope’.”

Warren Clark said a new FTD standard should incorporate greater medical disclosure and reporting of conditions that affect the driving task, and more consistent medical reporting, examinations and associated licensing requirements.

“The current review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) needs to consider putting a driver fitness for duty standard in a revised law.

“Current State and territory licensing arrangements mandate only minimum competencies and medical fitness to drive standards that fall well short of the health screening that our members want.

“We’d like to work with regulators on a FTD Standard that separates the commercial standards in the current guidelines and adds a series of screening tests for conditions like diabetes, sleep apnoea and psychiatric illness.

“We must have stronger criteria based on principles of risk management.”

Warren Clark said the current AFTD guidelines are not suited to managing competency and fitness to drive on an ongoing basis.

“They are not specific to heavy vehicles, are limited to driving tasks, and are not intended for use for regular health checks.

“NatRoad members use the AFTD guidelines as a de facto fitness for duty standard in lieu of anything more suitable.”

NatRoad says it is a not-for-profit association that is  funded via membership fees and business partnerships and says that no funding is provided by government or unions. The NatRoad board is made up of individuals who run transport businesses and has members from owner-drivers to road freight and large fleet operators, claiming to represent all aspects of the industry