Archive, Industry News

ATA questions electronic work diaries viability

Australian Trucking Association believes many companies will continue using paper work diaries.

Australia’s peak trucking group has questioned whether large parts of the industry will use electronic work diaries (EWD), saying the cost of them will not be worth it to small firms.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) supports EWDs, which are being introduced as a voluntary alternative to paper work diaries.

Queensland this week passed the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill that will allow the use of EWDs.

Each device is expected to cost $1,200 to buy, $500 to install and then $20 each month in ongoing costs. Conversely, a paper diary incurs a one-off cost of only $20.

“Although electronic work diaries offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators and businesses that only operate heavy vehicles occasionally,” ATA CEO Chris Melham says.

Melham also believes the highly accurate devices may deter people from using them out of concern they will be penalised for minor breaches.

“The Heavy Vehicle National Law requires drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles to fill out work diaries to record their work and rest hours. The time periods in the existing paper work diaries are recorded in 15 minute blocks and are hand-written by the driver,” he says.

“The electronic diaries approved under this Bill automatically round to the nearest one minute interval, with a tolerance for small work time breaches of eight minutes in a 24 hour period. There is no tolerance for errors in rest times.”

The National Transport Commission (NTC) plans to review the eight-minute tolerance rule after two years, a move the ATA supports.

“This review is essential in order to make sure that EWD users are not subject to a stricter regulatory regime than those who use the paper diaries,” Melham says.

Queensland transport minister Jackie Trad says EWDs are not intended to usher in a ‘big brother’ type system and that there will be protections to ensure data generated is not misused.

Trad says truck operators and drivers stand to benefit in terms of safety and reduced paperwork from EWDs.

“Drivers will benefit from a system that will alert them when a required rest break is approaching. It will also be of particular benefit to the many drivers who struggle with the complex requirements of recording and calculating their work and rest times in a written work diary,” she says.


Photography: Brad Gardner

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend