Fatigue management transition for South Australia

By: Jason Whittaker

South Australia is following Queensland’s lead by implementing a transition period to new fatigue management regulations as well as relaxing

South Australia is following Queensland’s lead by implementing a transition period to new fatigue management regulations as well as relaxing its enforcement strategy.

Although the laws will be introduced on September 29, operators will have a six-month exemption from changed driving hours. This means drivers using standard hours will still be allowed to drive for 12 hours and work for two hours.

Under the new regulations, drivers are limited to a 12-hour workday.

The Rann Government is also extending the Transitional Fatigue Management Scheme (TFMS) from six to 12 months. Those resigtered under the TFMS are allowed to drive for longer hours.

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA), which campaigned hard for the transition periods, says the Government’s decision will give operators more time to adjust to the new regulations.

The association says operators will also have more time to determine whether they will need to become accredited in Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or the Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) module.

Operators have also been given up to 90 days to obtain new work diaries. The 90-day rule will apply to those using TFMS or standard hours, while AFM and BFM operators will have 14 days. Drivers who currently do not need a logbook, such as those working locally, will also have 14 days.

While Queensland Transport says officers will take an education approach initially, South Australia has set a specific period as to how long the industry will have before officers’ ramp up efforts to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

The SARTA says the Government will install a three-month period where minor penalties are dealt with leniently, such as warnings rather than financial penalties.

"These are very important and major outcomes from SARTA’s sustained efforts to deal responsibly with the issues confronting the industry," a statement from the association says.

"They will enable the industry a reasonable amount of time to make the operational adjustments required for working under the new driving hour laws and to get their drivers trained and accredited for BFM if they want to retain the existing 14-hour workday."

The SARTA has also used the outcome to hit out at fringe groups attempting to organise nationwide shutdowns, saying legitimate organisations with a strong membership base are the best way in getting results from government.

Meanwhile, the organisation says fatigue management information sessions are progressing well.
The sessions, which are held in a number of different locations across South Australia, began on July 28 and will end on August 14.

Those interested in attending will need to register with the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure.

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