2019 Trucking Industry Summit

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


The 2019 Trucking Industry Summit prepared trucking industry insiders to cope with more stringent compliance issues

With a headline that read ‘Industry compliance just got tougher, are you at risk?’, it seemed like the sensible thing to do was for us to hop on a plane and head down to the Sudima in Christchurch to find out what it was all about.

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Always present at RTF conferences, the MAN Safety truck plays a hands-on role with road safety

The event was presented by the NZ Trucking Association and featured a list of speakers from organisations such as NZ Police CVST unit, NZ Transport Agency, and Worksafe NZ.

The primary purpose of the summit was to prepare trucking industry insiders to cope with more stringent compliance issues, which are either on the horizon or are already in place.
It also provided an opportunity for the Road Transport Forum’s new CEO, former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett, to introduce himself to the members in person.

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Two hundred delegates from around the country attended the event

Nick was recently appointed to the role upon the retirement of the organisation’s long-standing CEO Ken Shirley. The well-timed summit fell on the eve of the introduction of the Employment Amendment Act 2018 in which employers with 20 or more staff will have greater restrictions placed upon the 90-day trial period, to name just one facet of the Act, which took effect as of 6 May 2019.

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David Boyce, CEO NZ Trucking Association

In his introduction to the day’s programme, NZ Trucking Association CEO and master of ceremonies for the day, David Boyce, gave an overview of what the 200 or so attendees could expect to glean from the day’s programme in respect of the increased level of compliance and regulatory changes currently being introduced.

He also said that there would be a Q&A session and networking opportunity at the end of the day’s programme in which the transport operators would be able to speak directly to the regulators and gain some answers to the burning questions of the day.

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The panel of speakers at the Q&A session

The session proved to be (for this writer at least) the most interesting component of the day with some well-crafted questions being asked of the legislators and enforcement officers.

One delegate suggested that the summit could perhaps have had a greater focus on what can be done in order to attract young people into the industry, citing an earlier quotation in which it was stated that the industry is currently short of some 4000 drivers across the country.

She went on to say that during a recent visit to the US, she met drivers who proudly wore badges for various good driving milestones and asked if similar initiatives had been considered in New Zealand.

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Some interesting road safety stats to ponder

This, and other questions pertaining to the state of our roads to the ever-increasing cost of compliance were generally answered by reiterating the theme of the day, that while we’re here to be helpful, firm but fair, the onus is always on the operator, both owners and drivers, to manage all risks in a responsible manner.

While it appeared that the CVST, NZTA, and WorkSafe presenters were genuine in their desire to be as flexible and consultative as humanly possible when dealing with industry issues, a sceptic would be well aware that the organisations that pay these officers wages are largely funded by collecting fines from errant companies and individuals.

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A driver’s view of an upcoming commercial vehicle safety centre

As to whether the legislators live up to their promise of being firm as well as fair, only time will tell.

The NZ Trucking Industry Summit in a nutshell

NZ Police CVST unit

Major concerns

  • Not wearing seat bels
  • Distraction and fatigue
  • Poor vehicle condition
  • Vehicles found to be not up to COF standards at roadside checks
  • Weight and permit breaches
  • Non-compliance with work-time rules (log book breaches)
  • And, of course, speed
  • Rollout of 12 nationwide Commercial Safety Centres (checkpoints)
  • The majority of fatal and serious crashes involving driver distraction occur during peak commuting times, morning and night
  • No mention made of drivers of private motorcars travelling on the wrong side of the road

NZTA

Introduction from Kane Patena, newly-appointed general safety manager, regulatory, who promised the NZTA would continue to be a "firm but fair" regulator.

WorkSafe

  • 73% of all work-related fatalities involve a vehicle
  • Risks involved around handling dangerous goods
  • Risks associated with inhalation of diesel fumes
  • Loading and unloading
  • Risk of slips, trips, and falls
  • Risk of crushing and working around forklifts

The early 20th-century comedian WC Fields once said, "The world’s becoming a very dangerous place; in fact, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get out of it alive".

We can only hope that our 21st-century legislators can be as equally adroit when setting out the rules we’ll be forced to live by.

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