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Progress measures to address truck driver shortage

Progress on measures to address truck driver shortage

The Transport Minister Paul Swain says progress is being made in efforts to address the truck driver shortage. Mr Swain has given the Road Transport Forum Annual Conference in Wairakei an update on a number of legislative and regulatory changes before government.

These issues which are critical to the industry include commercial driver licensing, the system of driving hours and logbooks, heavy motor vehicle speed limits, and electronic road user charges.

Mr Swain says a new Land Transport rule being drafted could overcome licensing issues regarded as partly to blame for discouraging new entrants to the industry, and he expects to sign it before the end of the year.

"The proposal involves relaxing the time a driver over the age of 25 needs between each of the 5 licence classes and endorsements, such as moving from a full licence to a learner licence of a higher class."

"It is proposed the restrictions be reduced from six, to three months, and if the over-25 driver undertakes on the job training, it could be removed entirely," says Mr Swain.

"The Ministry of Social Development is also working closely with the Road Transport Forum to help match prospective employees with trucking operators, which has resulted in about 50 people gaining work as a result of one programme in South Canterbury."

Mr Swain says the system of logbooks and driving hours will also be simplified as a result of the Land Transport Amendment Bill, which he hopes to introduce to Parliament before the end of the year.

Another change could see the 80km/h and 90 km/h speed limits for heavy motor vehicles of different configurations rationalised into one speed limit of 90km/h, and work is also underway on whether road user charges could be collected electronically, to reduce compliance and enforcement costs.

"These changes reflect a partnership approach between government and the industry," says Mr Swain.

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