The NHVR has signalled it is set to look at how fatigue technology can be recognised in regulatory frameworks.

The Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s CEO, Sal Petroccitto  announced the intentions at the  recent Victorian Transport Association conference.

The NHVR boss said that fatigue is a key area of focus and  that they will use technology as one of the  ways to help battle fatigue in trucks.

“There is widespread agreement across the industry that counting time is not an effective measure of managing fatigue, and fatigue is unique to each individual,” Petroccitto said.

“What makes you tired is something different to what might make me tired.

“We know that to properly manage fatigue risk we need to collectively manage individual driver behaviour fatigue as well,” he said.

“One of the key tools in helping to manage the individual driver fatigue is around fatigue, distraction and detection technology, we know the benefit of this technology and its ability to contribute to saving lives by alerting drivers to incidents before they occur is where we need to land,” Petroccitto added.

“So we want to foster this life-saving technology, which is why we are launching a pilot of this technology to understand how it can be recognised in the regulatory framework.”

The NHVR did not reveal much detail  although the CEO indicated that a pilot program with a small sample group of operators, with  the intention that the program  could expand later in 2021.

“We think this is the right approach to take with technology – a partnership model whereby the interested parties work together to understand the benefits for everyone,” he added.

Petroccitto believes that it is vital that the when it comes to tech that the  legislation is neutral.

“You have made significant investment in technology solutions to meet your individual business needs,” he  told the conference.

“Governments should be leveraging the systems you have in place and we support a model similar to the development of EWDs, where  we set the performance standard  but not the type of technology, letting the market determine how to best meet those standards,” Petroccitto said.

“NHVR says it seeks a law that’s clearer, forward-looking and future-proofed as there likely won’t be as good a future opportunity for reform beyond this,”  the NHVR boss said.

Petroccitto says he doesn’t want to see all power with the regulator,  but instead  to regulate efficiently while still being held to account by ministers, while having more potential to be responsive to change, with the current framework needing 12 to 18 months for any legislative change.

Petroccitto  says he wants risk-based investment and commitment rewarded and supported by legislation put forward for operators.

He added that he does not support operator licensing, pointing to higher cost compared to the current situation, instead favouring a competencybased approach.

Petroccitto  also said that a national heavy vehicle registration system should be investigated and he is in favour of faster gains when it comes to heavy vehicle access around PBS vehicles.

PBS  has yielded both statistically lower crash rates and higher levels of productivity, with PBS trucks have recorded 46 per cent fewer crashes per kilometres travelled,  while being between 15 and 30 per cent more productivity than older trucks.

There are now almost 12,000 PBS combinations on Australian roads almost nine years ahead of  the originally forecast time frame for that many PBS trucks on our roads. That target was not expected to be reached until 2030.

In the past year alone the number of PBS trucks and buses has increased by 40 per cent on the previous year with industry demand and tax write off incentives driving the upturn.

Petroccitto  says the approval process is too slow and reckons the  a 28-day limit is still too long and believes that 14 days would be more desirable.

Petroccitto  says he would like to see a risk and consent focus, targeting higher-risk sectors while easing the burden on operator with strong and proven safety records.​