Truck driver medical standards should be improved to save lives on Australian roads.
In its submission to the 2021 Assessing Fitness to Drive review, the ATA has called out the current AFTD commercial standards as subjective, unsuitable and out of date.
Backed by sound legal advice, the submission argues that:
- The AFTD commercial driver standards are not fit for purpose
- there are no legal reasons why AFTD cannot mandate specific examination procedures
- the alternative approach, creating an extra driver health standard, would not be workable
The submission begins, though, by recounting Nathan’s story. In February 2010, Nathan passed away after a B-double collided with his ute on the Pacific Highway. The B-Double driver had been examined under the medical standards just three months before the crash – but the exam had failed to reveal that he had severe sleep apnoea. The B-double driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.
The ATA has recommended that instead of creating an extra driver health standard, the AFTD commercial standards should be improved to include objective screening tests for sleep apnoea, diabetes and cardiac risk level.