Australian Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association (APVDA)'s Contributions to the NRSPP & Points of Contact

  • Christine ThielMedia/PR OfficerCommencement Date: 02/10/2017http://www.apvda.org.au/

    What sector does your organisation operate within?

    Pilot Vehicle Drivers – Heavy Haulage – Escorting Oversize/over-dimension transport.

    Pilot vehicles are “official safety warning vehicles”.

    What size is your fleet or the number of staff who generate your transport task?

    There are thousands of pilots drivers across Australia.  Most of them are independent operators, self-employed sub-contractors.  Some are employed by pilot companies as drivers of fleet vehicles.

    Describe what road safety means to your organisation?

    Road safety is the prime purpose of Australia’s Pilot Vehicle Drivers.

    It is the pilot’s role to ensure the safe transportation of the oversize load, the safety of all vehicles and drivers involved in the move, and the safety of all motorists in the vicinity of the oversize load.

    What action(s) could your organisation do to support road safety through the NRSPP & by when?

    1.      To develop a national media campaign.The campaign would utilise all media to educate the Australian motoring public to “see the sign” and about the role of the pilot vehicle drivers, and their authority in the performance of their duties.

    The campaign would also educate motorists on their responsiblities in the vicinity of oversize loads.

    THEME : “Give way to Oversize Loads and Pilot Vehicles”.

    June 2018
    2.      To develop national pilot vehicle driver harmonisation for all states.Harmonisation is the ultimate goal of the Australian pilot vehicle drivers.

    National harmonisation will bring all states into line with the qualifications of all pilot vehicle drivers in all states.

    The National Transport Commission (NTC) ran a complementary project in parallel with the Austroads about 4 years ago, but the states have been unable, or unwilling, to work towards the goal of one set of national guidelines.

    The states with accreditation, WA, NT, Qld and Vic have different guidelines, some conflict with other states.  NSW and SA don’t have any accreditation, and also have conflicting rules and grey areas, open to interpretation by transport operators.

    The WA and NT transport and pilots have been reluctant to join the NHVR until the teething problems had been sorted out.  The future is looking good now..

    December 2019
    3.      To educate all learner drivers nationally, about the hazards presented by   oversize loads, and their role and responsibility while driving in the vicinity of these large loads.  To emphasise the duties of a pilot driver. e.g closing roads.Western Australia has a comprehensive tutorial in the learner drivers’ manual which addresses this issue.  Refer to the website of Main Roads WA. January 2018
    4.      To guide the recreational vehicle community about cooperating with the pilot vehicle drivers and truck drivers involved in an oversize movement and encouraging them to install UHF radios to communicate with the pilots and drivers. April 2018

    NRSPP CASE STUDY

    INTRODUCTION

    07/07/2017

    Pilot vehicle drivers are scattered all around Australia, operating predominantly as individual sole operators/owner drivers.

    Some pilot vehicle drivers are contracted to transport companies, some to pilot fleet operators, while others are on-call as independent sub-contractors, engaged by transport companies or pilot agents.

    Self-employed pilot drivers are responsible for their insurances i.e. public liability, vehicle comprehensive and person accident and injury.  Current annual public liability minimum is $20m.

    There are two representative groups.  The peak body, the Australian Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association concentrates on transport industry issues and policies relevant to the role of Australian pilots.

    The National Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association serves its members with overall representation.  These associations are two individual groups, not affiliated in any way.

    Each state has guidelines specific to the state.  All states except South Australia and New South Wales have pilot driver accreditation, which also have state-specific variations.  Pilot vehicle driver accreditation is compulsory in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria, but each state has different guidelines for this common industry.

    It’s the pilot driver industry’s ambition to have national harmonisation with one set of laws and guidelines for all states.  The National Transport Association in conjunction with Austroads introduced the concept of Harmonisation about four years ago, and there were discussion groups all over the country, but the issues have never been resolved.  There are conflicts between states in the proposed guidelines.  When the concept of harmonisation was introduced by the NHVR, Main Roads WA and Northern Territory Transport declined to participate, based on the Regulator’s initial guidelines.  The concept is now in the hands of NHVR.

    Harmonisation is the ultimate goal of the Australian Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association to bring all states in line with the same laws and qualifications of all pilot vehicle drivers in all states.  At this stage the guidelines of Western Australia are the most practical and professional preferred option, but there some reluctance by Queensland to adopt this option in its entirety.

    “Australian transport has no borders”, and yet the state variations continue to hamper progress within the industry.

    The primary role of pilot vehicle drivers is a safety warning device to ensure the safety of the oversize load, the team involved in moving the oversize load, and all motorists in the vicinity of the oversize load.

    The motoring public does not understand the role and duties of pilot vehicle drivers.  The motoring public does not acknowledge the pilot vehicle.  While there are only a few case studies of near-misses in the Australian oversize/over-dimension and heavy haulage industries, there are anecdotal examples of incidents during oversize movements.  Thousands of professional accredited pilot vehicle are trained and are very successful at anticipating potential problems, and endeavour to take evasive action to avoid crashes and other events.

    The lack of public awareness of the role of PVD’s and how to react when the motorists see an oversize load, is the greatest issue which confronts the pilot driver industry.

    The ultimate vision of the APVDA is to minimise incidents during oversize movements.  While there are always “near misses”, events of crashes are minimised by effective professional pilot vehicle drivers and the skilled heavy haulage truck drivers.

    The pilot driver industry strives to educate the motoring public about the role of the pilot vehicle driver in relation to the oversize loads.  There have been no specific government programs to do this.

    Proposal 1 :

    A national media campaign will reduce some of the motorist’s confusion. 

    The campaign would utilise all media and bill boards to educate the Australian motoring public on the role of the pilot vehicle drivers.  The campaign would also educate motorists on their role in the vicinity of oversize loads.

    THEME : “Give way to Oversize Loads and Pilot Vehicles”.

    While each state has specific authorised pilot duties, the main role is warning traffic about the approach of an oversize load, directing traffic, closing roads and bridges, and instructing motorists to give way until the oversize load has passed.  The level of authority also varies from state to state.

    Proposal 2 :

    To develop national pilot vehicle driver guidelines harmonisation for all states.

    Harmonisation is the ultimate goal of the Australian pilot vehicle drivers.  National harmonisation will bring all states into line with the qualifications of all pilot vehicle drivers and guidelines in all states.  This would also incorporate the Code of Conduct.

    The National Transport Commission (NTC) initiated the harmonisation program about four years ago, incorporating a parallel program with Austroads.  They ran a complementary project but the states have been unable, or unwilling, to work towards the goal of one set of national guidelines.

    From the pilot vehicle driver’s perspective the major concern was the unpopular Graduated pilot accreditation which incorporated a dual level qualification of a pilot vehicle driver.

     After discussion workshops in four states, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, it was clear the industry was in favour of a single level national accreditation scheme for pilots.

    The national accreditation scheme would include a full set of training single-level competencies, instead of the proposed graduated two-tier approach initially proposed in the NTC discussion paper.

    The states with accreditation, WA, NT, Qld and Vic have different guidelines, some conflict with other states.  NSW and SA don’t have any accreditation, and also have conflicting rules.

    The WA and NT transport and pilots have been reluctant to join the NHVR until the teething problems had been sorted out.  The future is looking good now.

    Some of the efforts to educate the public so far include articles submitted and published in national caravan and RV magazines, the most recent being in the Campervan and Motorhome Association magazine “The Wanderer” in September 2016.  Informative pamphlets have been distributed at caravan and camping shows in Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as motor shows in Western Australia in the last five years.

     Proposal 3 :

    To educate all learner drivers nationally.

    This campaign will educate all Australian learner drivers about the hazards presented by oversize loads, and the driver’s role and responsibility while driving in the vicinity of these large loads.

    The duties of a pilot driver would be emphasised. e.g closing roads and bridges..

    Western Australia has a comprehensive tutorial in the learner drivers’ manual which addresses this issue.  Refer to the website of Main Roads WA.

    Despite all the variations of laws for the heavy haulage and pilot driver industries around the country, they will continue to be co-dependent sectors of the transport industry.  The two groups are in no way affiliated at this stage, but it would be an ultimate goal for pilots and heavy haulage to be partners.

    Proposal 4 :

    To guide the Australian recreational vehicle community about cooperating with the pilot vehicle drivers and truck drivers involved in an oversize movement, and encouraging them to install UHF radios to communicate with the pilots and drivers

    The biggest problem for the heavy haulage and pilot driver industry is public ignorance.  While there have been many stories of “near miss” events, it’s the professionalism of the truck drivers and pilots which have avoided more tragic incidents.  The pilot vehicle driving industry’s culture is all about safety – the safety of the load, the safety of anyone involved in the convoy, and the safety of all motorists.

    The APVDA is striving to achieve improved safety and to continue to work toward best practice road safety solutions.  The Association works to raise the standard of the industry safety across Australia by its leadership.

    The APVDA is keen to collaborate as an NRSPP program partner to share the experiences of the Australian pilot vehicle driver industry.

    The Association would benefit by accessing support resources to develop public motorist education campaigns.  This will extend to educating all learner drivers nationally, about the hazards presented by oversize loads, and their role and responsibility when driving in the vicinity of these large loads.