Transport Minimum safety standards explained

Did you know that around 1.4 per cent of Australians are truck drivers?

One hundred and eighty thousand Aussies keep goods moving around the country every day. It’s
also interesting to note that truck driving is the most common occupation for men in Australia.
That’s a lot of husbands, sons and fathers… and of course there are mums and daughters as well
(figures show that around three per cent of truck drivers are women).

Unfortunately, every year a number of drivers fail to get home safely. Recent statistics share that 50
truck drivers lost their lives on Australian roads in 2021.

We have written in the past about the pressures around the industry and the shortage of workers.
This week we want to help our clients understand the safety regulations around the freight solutions
they rely on.

Rules for truck drivers in Australia.

There are many safety standards truck drivers in Australia must comply with. These are designed to
protect both the driver and other road users, and ensure everyone enjoys a safe journey.

Some of the general safety standards that go hand in hand with freight solutions providers include:

– Ensuring the vehicle is always in good condition and regularly serviced

– Adhering to speed limits

– Keeping a proper lookout for other vehicles and pedestrians

– Wearing seat belts at all times

– Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

There are also rules around how many hours a driver can spend on the road at a time before having
a break.

Right now, drivers can only spend 12 out of every 24 hours behind the wheel and they must have at
least seven consecutive hours of rest. In addition to this, a minimum 15-minute break must be taken
after every 5.5 hours of driving.

These rules are in place in order to minimise fatigue and reduce the potential for drivers to fall
asleep at the wheel and drive into others or off the road. Some drivers have exemptions if they are
able to present a ‘safety case’ that confirms they can operate outside of these rules.

Technology such as Electronic Work Diaries exist to help drivers manage fatigue and stick within the
guidelines. These systems alert drivers to when a rest break is required and help them plan their

Other freight solution safety regulations

Safety doesn’t only apply to the number of hours spent on the road. Trucks carry very heavy loads
that must be packed and secured carefully.

For example, there are rules around the ways forklifts can be operated during the loading/unloading
process, and specific requirements about loading and unloading the back of a truck. Drivers must
complete training to ensure these rules are applied; which is why you can’t always pick up a willing
worker and put them behind a wheel at short notice.

Weight is a factor in freight solutions as well. Trucking companies risk being fined a maximum of
$55,000 if they are found to have overloaded a vehicle.

It is the truck driver and their employer’s responsibility to ensure the following and more:

  • Routes are carefully planned
  • Loading documentation is completed
  • The condition of the vehicle and cargo are checked throughout the trip
  • Road rules are followed
  • Safety requirements are followed during on and offloading
  • Delivery receipts are recorded
  • Trips are logged
  • Dispatchers are kept up to date
  • Safety incidents are logged

As you can see, a simple journey to deliver the goods that are found in our supermarkets and store
shelves requires a lot of activity behind the scenes. It’s not only about being on the road but
adhering to the rules of a heavily regulated industry; and these rules are put in place to keep
everyone safe.

When you’re seeking freight solutions, this is something to keep in mind. It’s why we recommend
businesses liaise with an experienced freight broker who understands the industry inside and out.

Need help choosing a reliable freight solutions provider? Contact EFS today.