A new vision for heavy vehicle compliance: Leveraging from the Heavy Vehicle National Law for improved road safety outcomes
The history of heavy vehicle compliance in Australia is partly a success story, with fatalities involving heavy vehicles trending downwards since the 1970s. However, the fact remains that transport and logistics is the most dangerous sector in which an Australian can be employed and our half a million heavy vehicles are over-represented in total road deaths. The new Heavy Vehicle National Law represents a significant opportunity to improve road safety outcomes in the freight industry. To maximise the potential arising from a national approach, the NTC has spent the last two years researching the reasons why non-compliance with the law occurs. We have interviewed drives at roadside, consulted with peak industry bodies and operators and accompanied enforcement officers on road all over Australia. We’ve compared our experience with our counterparts in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States and drawn on insights from the behavioural sciences, regulatory analysis and transport history. Our research has identified 6 motivations for non-compliance as follows: (1) Failure of regulatory reach (2) Lack of ability to comply (3) Lack of willingness to comply (4) Economic imperative (5) Opportunism (6) Determined recidivism. We have developed a new framework for heavy vehicle compliance that tailors the intervention strategies possible under the new law to the different categories of non-compliance. Our objective is to make genuinely risk-managed intervention and enforcement possible and to normalise compliance within the industry.