One of PACCAR Australia's oldest established dealers has joined forces with Australia's largest provider of logistics firm to open a $1.3 million drivers' interchange facility to improve driver safety by managing fatigue.

Officially opened on 1 November, the purpose-built truck drivers' complex is regarded as the most sophisticated in the country. It is the brainchild of Cliff Swane, Managing Director of Inland Truck Centres - an award-winning chain of PACCAR NSW dealerships in Dubbo, Wagga Wagga and Griffith - in conjunction with Toll Linehaul & Fleet Services, part of Toll Group. The facility adjoins his Dubbo dealership in River Street, just off the Newell Highway.

Toll Linehaul has a long-term lease on the property. Its 180 trucks, which stop over every week in Dubbo, now park at the new premises. Drivers can rest, sleep and change over trucks in a safe, secure and comfortable environment.

General Manager of Toll Linehaul and Fleet Services, Bob Lovf, said Dubbo was the logical choice for the company's first dedicated drivers' interchange. "Dubbo has traditionally been a change-over point for long-haul drivers, because it is roughly half-way between various interstate routes," he said.

Dubbo is one of the busiest transport hubs in regional Australia. It is situated at the crossroads of three major thoroughfares - the Mitchell, Newell and Golden Highways. More than 1500 trucks a day pass through the city on these highways, heading north to Brisbane and northern Queensland, south to Melbourne, east to Sydney and Newcastle, and west to Mildura and Adelaide.

Approximately 550 long-haul heavy vehicles stop over in the city each week to comply with fatigue management laws. Most operators park their rigs on the side of the highways, and either sleep in their cabs or in local motels and rented houses. If they sleep in town, they need to disconnect their trailers and leave them by the highways, so that they can park their prime movers in the city streets.

"Our drivers used to do the same," Mr Lovf said. "There were no facilities in Dubbo to do changeovers - it was all done on the side of the highway and it was potentially an accident waiting to happen. And, if drivers slept in their cabs, there was a lot of noise from passing traffic. If they slept in motels, there could have been other noises and distractions, especially considering half of our drivers sleep during the day. This was not conducive to quality sleep," he explained.

"Now, with our Dubbo interchange, we have all of our operators under the one roof - and they can park their trucks and trailers inside a secure yard on the property."

Mr Lovf said the facility addressed a critical issue plaguing the transport industry - driver fatigue - which was responsible for a substantial number of accidents.

"The Dubbo interchange was built to address this serious problem. It provides a quiet, stress-free environment for our drivers to recover after a shift, and be fully refreshed when they're ready to get back on the road. Driver welfare is vitally important. We want all of our employees to go to work and to return home safely," he said.

The Toll Linehaul Drivers' Interchange site comprises 6800 sqm of land, which includes an expansive yard that can accommodate a number of B doubles, and provides access for future B triples and roadtrains.

The 400 sqm complex features 24 sound-proofed bedrooms, which are air-conditioned and individually fire-proof rated. Amenities include a meals room, fully-appointed kitchen, a recreation room and outside barbecue area. There is also a first aid room, laundry as well as male and female toilets, showers and change rooms.

In addition, the premises is manned 24/7 by an on-site manager. An operations room is equipped with fleet satellite tracking screens, and integrated security and communications systems. Also, safety cameras monitor the entire property, and access to the yard, building and strategic indoor areas requires a security swipe card.

Mr Swane said it was rewarding to work with Toll on an industry-leading initiative. "From the outset, we have focused on enhancing transport efficiency and protecting the industry's greatest asset - its drivers. And this will have a flow-on effect, improving safety for the general public of Dubbo and the wider community of road users. The Dubbo interchange may be the first dedicated facility of its kind, but I hope many more will follow throughout Australia. It's a win-win for everyone."

PACCAR Australia's Director, Sales and Marketing, Andrew Hadjikakou, said Inland Truck Centres' partnership with Toll underscores the professionalism and innovation of the entire PACCAR dealer network.

"Both companies share the same commitment to improving road safety and the welfare of drivers, and they have developed a solution which will have a major impact on the industry for years to come," Mr Hadjikakou said.

"Fatigue management is one of the biggest challenges facing transport operators today. As the largest transport company in Australia, Toll, through its Linehaul division, has set a new benchmark in occupational health and safety. It has gone well beyond legislated compliance to provide its drivers with the most advanced facilities for managing fatigue and ensuring road safety for all.

"PACCAR Australia has more than a passing interest in the success of the interchange as the majority of Toll's trucks which stop over in Dubbo are Kenworths. We applaud this proactive investment, and we hope other companies will follow Toll's lead," Mr Hadjikakou added.

Dubbo MP Troy Grant, who officially opened the complex, congratulated the companies on addressing road safety through better management of fatigue.

"Fatigue is a significant contributor to heavy vehicle crashes. Transport for New South Wales crash data found that, in 2011, eight percent of crashes involving a heavy vehicle involved driver fatigue. In fact, fatigue is the major contributor to fatal crashes, with twenty-five percent being fatigue related," Mr Grant said.

"In all heavy vehicle crashes involving fatigue, the operator of the heavy vehicle was the fatigued driver in sixty-four percent of accidents. These statistics highlight the importance of all drivers taking minimum rest periods in line with fatigue laws. Facilities, like the Dubbo interchange, will play an integral role in improving road safety," he added.

Dubbo Mayor Councillor Matthew Dickerson, who was also present at the official opening, said that, in just a short time, the premises had made a dramatic difference to Dubbo.

"On average, a truck passes through Dubbo every minute - and this figure is rising," Cr Dickerson observed. "That said, the trucks passing through Dubbo are not the problem; it's the number that are parking in Dubbo which is a concern. It had become a real eyesore and it also created traffic hazards, with truck operators trying to cross busy highways and other drivers being distracted by streams of parked trucks. We had been receiving a lot of complaints from residents."

Cr Dickerson said Toll Linehaul accounted for about one third of the trucks that stopped over in Dubbo. The drivers' interchange had effectively removed 30 percent of the trucks which would otherwise be parked in the city.

"There has been a visible reduction in the number of trucks. We are receiving far less complaints and, in fact, we are now getting positive feedback about the improvement - all thanks to this private industry solution," he explained.

Toll Linehaul plans to open two more drivers' interchanges in Brisbane and Mildura in the latter half of 2013.

Kenworth trucks are designed and manufactured in Australia to meet the world's toughest applications. Kenworth, a division of PACCAR Australia, is market leader in heavy duty trucks in Australia. Its trucks are also exported to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.


For further information:

Mick Bennett

Marketing Services Manager

PACCAR Australia

Tel: (03) 9721 1500