Prioritising Driver Training to Enhance Road Safety

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Amid a growing truck driver shortage in Australia, the pressing need for well-trained drivers becomes increasingly evident. This urgency underscores the importance of not only filling driver seats but ensuring that those who take the wheel are thoroughly prepared for the challenges of the road.

The trucking industry is facing what transport operator Ron Finemore describes as an “intensive care” situation, with a critical shortage of drivers impacting operations across the nation.

Finemore owns a fleet of 290 trucks, operating along the east coast of Australia, and the driver shortage has seriously affected his business.  

This shortage tempts the industry to hasten the training process, potentially compromising the quality of preparation drivers receive.

Statistics from Monash University reveal that drivers who rapidly progress through license classes are 45% to 90% more likely to be involved in heavy vehicle crashes.

This poses glaring risk in hastening driver progression without adequate training, emphasising the need for robust training programs that extend beyond mere compliance.

Initiatives like this pilot scheme proposed by Austroads aim to introduce more young drivers into the industry safely. These programs are designed to manage the risks associated with inexperience, ensuring that new drivers are not only licensed but truly road-ready.

With the proposed licensing reforms and pilot schemes, there is hope for creating a more sustainable inflow of qualified drivers. However, these changes require time and commitment from all industry stakeholders to develop and evaluate their effectiveness thoroughly.

The industry must continue to advocate for and implement training programs that adequately prepare drivers for the demands of the road. Investing in training is investing in safety, and in the long term, this focus will yield significant benefits for all road users.

As we observe National Road Safety Week, let’s recommit to the principles that safeguard our roads. This week underscores the importance of robust driver training programs. By ensuring every driver is equipped with comprehensive skills and knowledge, we contribute to making our roads safer for everyone.

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