Generous stay on fatigue laws in NSW

New South Wales will offer a transition period to fatigue management regulations of up to 12 months

By Brad Gardner

New South Wales will offer a transition period to fatigue management regulations of up to 12 months following concerns the trucking industry is not ready to comply with the impending laws.

While Queensland and South Australia will delay enforcing the new laws by six months, and Victoria has rejected any transition period, New South Wales will give operators accredited in an approved safety scheme a year to upgrade to new fatigue management models.

Minister for Roads Eric Roozendaal has announced the State will also give operators not accredited in any safety scheme six months to choose between standard hours, Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).

After that time he says operators not accredited will lose current business entitlements. Roozendaal says the transition phases will give operators enough time to get used to new chain of responsibility measures under the fatigue framework.

"The Transport Workers Union and a number of trucking industry groups have been calling for a phase-in period to allow drivers and trucking companies to get better acquainted with the new laws," Roozendaal says.

"The iemma Government has listened to their concerns and acted accordingly. This new phase-in period will give everyone involved in the transport logistics chain enough time to understand their responsibilities."

New South Wales will align with Queensland and South Australia on the transition from logbooks to the new work diary, with a 90-day penalty-free period to be applied.

Those operators who become accredited under the Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) and Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) regimes will have 14 days from the September 29 implementation date to move to the new work diaries.

However, NSW has not buckled under pressure to remove its stringent work diary requirements. Unlike Queensland and Victoria, NSW operators will need to use a work diaries regardless of how far they operate from their depot.

Under Queensland law drivers must fill out a logbook outside a 200km radius from their starting point, while Victoria has mandated a 100km radius.

While operators will welcome the extra time to prepare for the new regulations, the differing transition periods increase cross-border inconsistencies with the new regulations.

Roozendaal says the fatigue management laws will help drive down heavy vehicle accidents because drivers will not be forced to meet unreasonable demands.

"It means all parts of the logistics chain are responsible for the behavior of heavy vehicles on our roads including employees, operators, consignors, loaders and schedulers," he says.

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