EDITORIAL: Fatigue reprieve another layer of regulatory uncertainty

By: Jason Whittaker


Three months out from the start of new driver fatigue regulations which will fundamentally change the way the trucking industy

Three months out from the start of new driver fatigue regulations which will fundamentally change the way the trucking industy operates, why are states only now talking about transitional arrangements from the existing regime? And how long will it take for them to agree on one?

The trucking industry is clearly not prepared for the introduction of the new regulations. And it's not entirely their fault. Regulators, too, have been caught with their pants down.

Indeed, the debate about a "period of overlap" between the new and existing laws, as the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) New South Wales is propsing, is indicitive of the entire process of implementing so-called fatigue reforms. A process typically characterised by bureaucratic squabbling and uncertainty and complexity for operators.

The July edition of ATN magazine, out next week, documents a failure of road agencies to find enough auditors for the new fatigue regimes and to properly educate drivers about the laws, a failure of governments to invest in new driver rest areas to allow compliance with the laws, and in the case of NSW a failure to even pass the laws before September.

The plan for a six-month grace period is the logical one. But now states can't even agree on that. ATN has learned attempts by the National Transport Commission (NTC) to broker a deal is meeting resistance. And the clock is ticking.

The message to operators is simple: the September 29 deadline remains firm and everything must be done to prepare.

Governments may buy you some time, but it's clear that can't be relied upon to do so.

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