NatRoad has declared to Austroads that heavy vehicle driver licensing in Australia should move to a national competency-based system.
NatRoad made the call in its submission in which it provided feedback on the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, outlining proposed changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework.
Austroads represents all levels of government and is a conglomerate of all of the Australian and New Zealand transport agencies, and has been working on changes to the heavy vehicle driver licensing system for some time.
The current licensing framework has only been implemented in four jurisdictions: New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
NatRoad wants Austroads to drop its proposal for post-licence behind-the-wheel supervised training and says its members have also made it clear that they do not support a time-based heavy vehicle licensing system.
“At present, licence progression is based on time served on a lower licence class,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said.
“For a heavy vehicle driver to be eligible to apply to progress to a higher licence class, they must hold a licence for a prior vehicle class for a minimum period of one year,” Clark added
“The weakness is that there is often no record of actual driving experience during that period. In fact, actual driving experience is not required,” hr said.
Clark said that the NatRoad policy is that if a person achieves the relevant competencies, the time period between licence class attainment is irrelevant and added that any revised framework must be reformed on that basis.
“NatRoad policy is that licence tests should reflect real-world conditions and, on that basis, must contain training on dealing with risky behaviour of light vehicle drivers,” Clark said.
“Austroads should recommend educational material and testing on how to drive around trucks be part of licensing requirements for light vehicle drivers.
“Austroads should also recommend to state and territory governments that driver offence notification requirements be harmonised between jurisdictions, using Queensland as the best current system for that notification.”