Truck Drivers Concerned About Fatigue Management Law
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been inundated with calls from truck drivers recently with concerns about fatigue management.
When states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory) adopted the National Heavy Vehicle Law, the NHVR became responsible for fatigue management.
Now truck drivers are calling The NHVR because they are unsure about how to count work and rest time correctly under fatigue management law.
Under fatigue management law truck drivers have to take rest breaks of at least 5 or 7 hours.
With the spate of calls from truck drivers, the regulator has issued a reminder about how to comply with fatigue management law.
Drivers seem to be confused about how to count work time correctly so that they don’t exceed their permitted work hours within a 24 hour period.
The NHVR sent a memo out to the industry about how to correctly calculate hours. It also reminded them that explanations can be found in the work diaries drivers are required to maintain.
The memo stated that under standard hours drivers can work 12 hours in a 24-hour period, while drivers with basic fatigue management (BFM) accreditation are permitted to work 14 hours in a 24 hour period.
The NHVR explained:
“A 24-hour period starts at the end of any relevant major rest break, which is any period of rest of at least 5 or 7 continuous hours (depending on your work and rest option),”
“The 24-hour period ends 24 hours later (at the exact same time on the following day), regardless of how much work you have done or rest you have taken during that time.
“It is important to remember that the 5 or 7 continuous hour period for a major rest break is the minimum amount of continuous rest required in a 24-hour period.”
The regulator has reminded drivers that taking a major rest break doesn’t reset a 24 hour period. So a solo driver under standard hours who works 12 hours in a 24 hour period must also have a total of 12 hours rest, the NHVR explained.
The NHVR also explained resuming work immediately after a major rest break depends on how many hours a driver has worked in the 24 hour period.
The NHVR adds in the memo,
“If you have worked less than your maximum work hours for that 24-hour period, you can work any remaining hours after finishing your break,” the NHVR says.