There’s a new face at the high table of TruckSafe. Karlie Easter has just been appointed as the Deputy Chairperson of the Board, second in command to Ferdie Kroon. Ms. Easter may be new to her position as deputy, but she has been part of the TruckSafe board since 2013, where Mr. Kroon says she ‘brought a new perspective to the group’.
TruckSafe is an industry-born initiative developed by stakeholders in the trucking sector. Their aim is to self-regulate and improve industry safety standards from the inside. The general approach to road safety often comes from a punitive perspective. Law enforcement agencies and government departments control the roads through laws and fines.
While this kind of treatment is known to deter unwanted behaviour in children, it often has the opposite effect on adults. Rather than complying with regulations in a bid to avoid fines or license revocation, grown-ups will seek loopholes and attempt to get around the rules. This is particularly dangerous with safety matters, because lives can be lost.
TruckSafe aims to solve this issue by coming at the matter from another angle. Truckers and fleet operators are more likely to listen to their own, so TruckSafe has created a set of safety standards that they use to accredit drivers, companies, and fleets. They also responsibly push back against government led-initiatives that may be counter-productive.
For instance, TruckSafe and the ATA recently objected to a change in HVNL (Heavy Vehicle National Law) that was unhelpfully punitive towards drivers. Instead, they initiated a series of workshops to help adjust the law, making it more safety-oriented and therefore more likely to enhance compliant truck parts and good road conditions for drivers and passengers.
This is the kind of work that TruckSafe does, and having Ms. Easter in a position of leadership can only be seen as a positive move. Currently, Ms. Easter is in charge of Safety Management at the Easter Group, making her an excellent fit for her position as deputy. She has also previously worked at Citistreet as Human Resource Manager, and at Commerce Queensland as an industrial advocate.
Her past work has enabled her to straddle the areas of legal matters, administrative policy, and truck safety issues. She is skilled at both the technical aspects of regulatory law and the human element of dealing with trucker folk. She is fully equipped to excel in her new position, and the TruckSafe Board is lucky to have her.
It would be easy to assume that TruckSafe accreditation has no validity, since it was designed and enforced by industry gurus. However, the TruckSafe code of conduct is specifically targeted at road safety and professionalism among truckers. In order to receive accreditation, an applicant must be independently audited.
Because the measures are developed by people who are truckers themselves, they are practical and applicable. Rather than being drafted from a theoretical or generic point of view, they are informed by everyday experience in trucking, and can identify and remedy the real on-ground issues that influence truckers, their vehicles, and the people they deal with.
Usually, laws and policies are drawn up by academics that often have skills in intense research and lots of initials both before and after their names. However, trucking is largely a blue-collar industry, and so by putting standards into the hands of the people that live in this world every day, a better result is achieved and more applicable and functional guidelines are shared.
That’s what makes TruckSafe such a ground-breaking installation, and why having Ms. Easter at the top table – given her progressive experience within the industry – is a shrewd and beneficial move to everyone involved. Our congratulations to Ms. Easter, and we’ll keenly watch the positive advances that she will help them implement going forward.