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Fitness To Drive Re-Write Needs a Re-Think

Driving steering the truck

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.

The National Road Transport Association has lodged its submission to the NTC’s review of its Assessing Fitness To Drive Guidelines (AFTD).

NatRoad says 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 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’.”

Mr 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.”

Mr 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.”