Qld to delay enforcement on driving hours, work diaries

By: Jason Whittaker

Queensland will delay enforcing new driver fatigue laws for at least six months, becoming the first state to offer a

Queensland will delay enforcing new driver fatigue laws for at least six months, becoming the first state to offer a moratorium on the controversial new fatigue framework.

Drivers will also have a 90-day penalty-free period to adapt to new work diaries.

In a letter to "dispel some myths" about the changes to fatigue management, Queensland Transport says operators who use the standard hours framework will have six months to introduce any changes beyond the September 29 deadline.

Operators looking at moving to other accreditation options, including basic fatigue management (BFM) and advanced fatigue management (AFM), will have 12 months to convert their operations.

"Be assured that Queensland Transport do not expect all changes to be adopted overnight," writes Judy Oswin, the Executive Director of Land Transport and Safety for Queensland Transport.

On-road inspectors will initially take an "education-focused" program, according to Oswin.

The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is planning a similar transitional scheme but is yet to announce a decision. Victoria has already ruled out any transition period in enforcement of the new laws.

Oswin says, under the new laws, drivers will face demerit point penalties if they are in breach of driving times by over one hour.

But she dismisses speculation that drivers will be docked points for 15-minute infringements.

"Queensland Transport is not interested in pushing you out of the industry and don’t wish to give out demerit point penalties, the fatigue laws are there for driver safety," she says.

Queensland was the first state to introduce demerit point penalties for fatigue breaches. Oswin says in the 12 months since their introduction in March there has been a 33 percent drop in repeat offenders and overall fatigue offences have dropped by 23 percent over the previous 12-month period.

New work diaries, which require work and driving times to be recorded separately, are being tested with a number of drivers, according to Oswin.

After September 29, drivers will have 90 days to start using the work diaries, allowing log books to continue during that period.

Queensland Transport this week began a round of information sessions on the new laws.

"Queensland Transport wants to work together with you to increase the safety and sustainability of the heavy vehicle transport industry," Oswin says.

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