Austroads have released a report that reviews the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework.
The report provides many key findings that suggest that changes to the way people achieve a truck licence is required and that the amount of time it takes needs lengthening.
As was expected, two areas that received attention in the report is the content being taught to new drivers and the amount of instruction they receive.
It is our interpretation that the report consistently provides argument for the increase in training time for new truck drivers, with international comparisons being quoted such as:
The amount of time that should be mandated as minimum, requires consideration and consultation with a range of stakeholders. Without suggesting that this is an appropriate standard, it is of note that Ontario, Canada requires a minimum 103.5 hours of instruction to obtain a commercial heavy vehicle licence (Austroads 2018, page 39)
The Heavy Vehicle licence systems of tomorrow may look very different. We speculate that there may be a compulsory theory element and an increase in professional in-vehicle training hours. If this is the case, course fees will rise accordingly. We also speculate that one-hour truck licence tests with limited criteria being assessed may be a thing of the past.
We at ALLTRUCK DRIVER TRAINING provide the option to customers to receive additional training to prepare for work by offering an Advanced Heavy Vehicle Training program. This course includes criteria that are not found in the normal licence assessment process. Enrolments numbers for this course are low, as there is no requirement by the licensing authority to do this training. Whilst we believe this advanced training is important, we cannot demand that learners do it.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are considering the findings of the report and it is expected that they will adjust the HVCBA scheme requirements according.
We at ALLTRUCK DRIVER TRAINING welcome the report and improvements to the scheme. We hope that if increased hours are required to achieve a truck licence, efficiencies can be identified and implemented to reduce the cost burden on new drivers and employers.