NSW considers CT driver authorisation scheme

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With growth of community transport, second Australian state plans to improve safety

AUSTRALIA The New South Wales (NSW) Government has released a discussion paper on the establishment of an authorisation system for community transport drivers, Australasian Bus & Coach reported.

NSW transport minister Gladys Berejiklian has urged stakeholders to provide feedback on options to improve the safety of Community Transport (CT) services.

Berejiklian says the forecast increase in the proportion of older people in NSW means there will be a greater demand for CT in the future. For a number of years, CT experts have argued CT drivers should be authorised.

Queensland is currently the only Australian state where legislation requires CT driver authorisation. CT operators may choose to use drivers who hold any category of Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) issued driver authorisation or may issue a Restricted Driver Authorisation (RDA) themselves.

Under the Queensland system, an applicant completes an RDA Notification form which is also signed by the issuing operator. In the form, the applicant makes a number of declarations. The DTMR then conducts criminal and driving record checks to confirm his/her eligibility to hold an RDA.

Successful RDA applicants are subject to the following conditions:

  • RDA holders are restricted to driving for the issuing operator. However, an applicant may hold RDA’s issued by different operators.
  • A driver must carry evidence of the RDA (issued by the operator) on them at all times while providing the community transport service.
  • If checks by the DDTMR indicate the applicant has an unsuitable criminal, driving or medical history, before the RDA is issued, the operator is advised not to issue the RDA.
  • If these checks indicate the applicant has an unsuitable criminal, driving or medical history after RDA has been issued by the operator, the DTMR will take action to amend, suspend or cancel the RDA.
  • The DTMR may request the holder of an RDA to undertake a medical examination, if the department reasonably considers the medical fitness of the holder no longer meets the approved standard.

The NSW community transport discussion paper is at www.transport.nsw.gov.au