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New truck laws affect us all: COC

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By Julius Grafton.

Roderick Van Gelder’s AESRG website reports that new laws will shorty come into effect. In mid-2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will be amended to provide that every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities – Chain of Responsibility (CoR).

This isn’t limited to the transport firm, here’s my example of how it bites us all.

In February our ENTECH Roadshow had a tight schedule with long distance drives for the three semis. Opening in Brisbane on Tuesday, we needed to be in Melbourne at 4am on Thursday. Assuming the trucks departed Brisbane at 10pm this was just legal. There was no margin for error.

Talking with our event cancellation insurer via our broker, Ken Killen of OzPrize & Weather Insurance Specialists along with our transport company boss Phil Duncan from ATS Logistics, we decided to run double drivers which reduces the trip time due to less legal break times. This cost an extra $5,600 but it had to be done. The single driver legal time is 31.5 – by swapping drivers in Sydney we overcame this.

Our gap time between the end of a roadshow in one city on a Tuesday (10pm) and the 4am positioning time on Thursday is 30 hours. We try to shave this by getting the last truck out before 10, and by opening the first truck doors at 6am. That’s our margin.

Further into the tour issues arose with load out times, due to a range of complexities including odd shaped freight (not many cases were the same), slow crew, and bad access like single loading dock or slow goods lifts from some of the ballrooms. The slow crew thing seemed to be a perfect storm – a lot of summer tours were stalking us, like Ed Sheeran. We had some not fresh crew and needed to monitor them.

Another tight leg was Sydney to Adelaide for which we allowed the legal time of 27.7 plus we had some hours in reserve. It was just within my comfort zone.

This culminated with Perth where the 9pm departure became 12 midnight. It was a first for me, and to this day I can’t pin down any specific reason why, other than that I was not there after 8pm due to my own fatigue factor.

That put the run back (74.1 hours) a few hours late. But the timings are not always simple because the legal rest breaks must fall where they fall. You can have a truck arrive at a venue and then not be legally able to be driven out when it is unloaded.

AESRG report that performers, security, loaders – everyone – can get caught if there is a truck accident down the line caused by any of us delaying a departure.

The common sense approach is to have everyone fully informed of any tight truck departures, which is what we had in place for ENTECH. Even with that, we still broke our own system in Perth but fortunately those trucks had 3.5 days to get back to the east coast.

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