Two concerns were brought to the attention of the NTC relating to a lack of clarity within the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
Transitioning between two-up and solo driving and the management of fatigue outside of participating were 2 concerns raised in a joint submission to the NTC by The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), the Western Roads Federation and the Northern Territory Road Transport Association.
According to NatRoad Chief Executive Warren Clark, the issue of transitioning from two-up driving back to solo driving was raised by member who were being fined.
“Based on the current law, drivers operating under a two-up arrangement are unable to transition to solo driving unless they are fully compliant with solo work and rest hours or complete a reset rest break of 48 hours plus two consecutive night breaks,”
“This means that there is no incentive for drivers to operate under a two-up arrangement.
“We believe a nationally agreed policy or a legislative amendment is needed for regulating work and rest hours when transitioning between two-up and solo driving.
“Our proposed changes would improve productivity and reduce costs as long-distance trips can be completed in less time,” he says.
Another area of confusion is section 245 of the HVNL which requires drivers moving in or out of Western Australia and the Northern Territory with a 7 day period to comply with HVNL fatigue laws. Western Roads Federation Cam Dumesny said,
Section 245 of the HVNL requires drivers travelling in or out of Western Australia and the Northern Territory within a seven day period to comply with HVNL fatigue laws, something Western Roads Federation Cam Dumesny says causes confusion.
“There is a lot of confusion amongst operators travelling in and out of Western Australia about these requirements,” Dumesny says.
According to The Northern Territory Road Transport Association Executive Officer Louise Bilato the confusion lies around the fact that some operators based outside of the state assume that the fatigue requirements when they enter the state are less stringent than the HVNL scheme.
“The NT maintains a performance-based approach to managing driver fatigue under its work health and safety laws,” Bilato explains.
“Our submission does not intend to debate whether the HVNL is superior or inferior to the fatigue management requirements in the NT or WA, however, the different interpretations of safe work and rest hours has created considerable administrative complications for the industry and for regulators”, she says.
The NTC will be embarking on a complete review of the HVNL later this year and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.