Shift is offering Four Points of Contact training for free.
Shift is offering Four Points of Contact training for free.

Free driver training program starts in Queensland next year

SLOTS are now open for 900 rookie Queensland truck drivers to take part in a groundbreaking two-day education course being held from the Gold Coast to Cairns next year.

The feature-packed Four Points of Contact program [see story below for more details] run by leading Logan-based RTO Shift Training, normally costs drivers $995.

But thanks to a contribution of $410,000 from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, the training from Shift is free from early January to those who qualify.

By surveying the safety and performance benefits accrued by participants, Shift chief executive Stu Gluyas hopes the results convince authorities that a course such as this should be compulsory before a heavy vehicle licence can be issued in Australia.

Mr Gluyas said at present pre-entry safety credentials are simply too lax, particularly in Queensland where the pilot study is being rolled out.

In Queensland there is currently no requirement to undertake any training in vehicle operation at all before sitting a practical test.

The only prerequisite is passing a 10-question, multi-choice knowledge test.

"You can get two of those questions wrong and still pass, and you don't need too many brains to figure out which is the correct answer without even understanding what the question means, and that happens a lot," said Mr Gluyas.

"Whether we spearhead change, or someone else, I'm not concerned who does it, but it needs to be done," said Mr Gluyas. Mr Gluyas is constantly amazed at the number of HR or HC licence holders who come to Shift to upgrade to MC, yet they don't understand how to do even a basic pre-start.

"They've never been shown, or taught, and the industry is not picking this up," he said.

"In terms of tyres they don't know minimum tread depths, and they've got no idea on axle weights because once again that's something they've never been taught. Many don't even know they need a log book."

To ensure the program survey delivers credible and quantifiable data, Shift is forming a steering committee compiled of organisations such as TMR, ATA and Austroads to monitor its progress.

The 2020 courses are being held in two blocks, the first starting in Logan City on January 28 and finishing in Rockhampton on April 2, with the second round in the same centres from September 1-November 5.

For more venue details, and to register your interest, phone 07 31330552, or visit Entry is conditional on a pre-training assessment and participation in an ongoing survey for 18 months.

What's involved in the Four Points of Contact training course

THE comprehensive two-day course is designed to give entry-level truckies the essential skills they need to safely operate a heavy vehicle.

The four points covered by Shift's expert trainers are; fatigue management, chain of responsibility, load restraint and vehicle inspections.

Day one kicks off with a CoR discussion and explanation, which includes an overview of the law and regulations, an outline of obligations and duties of each party in the chain and a reminder of the penalties for failure to comply. The course presenter will also explain what is a duty, a reasonable step, a breach and a penalty.

Later, they'll also cover off where to find more information on CoR.

The module finishes with an informal assessment with questions to check on understanding and learning progress.

After lunch, truckies move onto vehicle inspections and what to look for during a pre-start check.

The experts will show you what to look for, what to do if something is a hazard, and what to check once the engine is started. That segment finishes with participants carrying out their own vehicle inspection with the required documentation.

Day two begins with a load restraint discussion and explanation which includes an overview of the equipment used to restrain a load, how to create a lashing plan and how to cover a load for protection from weather.

The trainers will also cover off cargo-handling techniques and what to do when things go wrong.

That session also finishes with an informal assessment and questions to check on understanding and progress.

In the afternoon, participants move onto the fatigue management discussion and explanation phase.

In that session you'll learn about the common causes of fatigue, how to identify signs of fatigue, and to minimise factors that increase your risk.

The trainers will also show you where to find more information on NHVR website.

Would-be truckies then get the chance to fill out a log book themselves and undergo another informal assessment to check on their understanding.

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