Daley delivers on NSW fatigue changes

<font color="red"><b>BREAKTHROUGH:</b></font> Fines for minor work diary offences scrapped to rein in enforcement officers

Daley delivers on NSW fatigue changes
Daley delivers on fatigue changes
By Brad Gardner | September 21, 2009

Fines for administrative work diary offences in New South Wales have been abolished as part of a government effort to put to a stop to nit-picking enforcement officers.

Drivers will no longer be slugged with infringements for breaches such as spelling mistakes, with the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) announcing it will now issue formal warnings.

Former Minister for Roads Michael Daley proposed the changes during last month’s NatRoad conference and signed off on them before becoming Police Minister.

He told conference attendees the current approach of fining drivers for minor unintentional offences was unfair to the point where some were losing their livelihoods.

"We want to be fair and change behaviour, not put people out of business," Daley told the conference.

A letter sent by the RTA last week to the Transport Operations Liaison Group (TOLG) says a "low-range administrative offence" will be classified as one that is not linked to demerit points and is not a fatigue management driving hour offence.

"For example, not signing a work diary page or forgetting to tick the basic fatigue management (BFM) box on the work diary page would count as a low range administrative offence," the letter reads.

Multiple low-rang offences will also be clustered into one fine, meaning drivers will no longer receive fines for each individual offence.

"If a driver commits more than one of the same ‘low-range administrative offence’, RTA inspectors will issue only one penalty notice at the time of intercept, instead of issuing a penalty notice for each occurrence of the same offence," according to the letter.

The exemption means drivers working within 100km of their base will not need to use a work diary even if they are operating under BFM or advanced fatigue management (AFM) conditions.

Daley also signed into law a 160km permanent work diary exemption beginning October 6.

The RTA has also used its letter to the TOLG to allay concerns over the end of the year-long fatigue management transition on September 28.

Under the phase-in period, transitional fatigue management scheme-accredited (TFMS) drivers were allowed to work under 14-hour BFM conditions to give them time to move over to the new module.

Industry groups recently called for an extension to the transition, claiming many in the industry were unprepared for the changeover.

The Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) also warned of compliance issues because those in TFMS who were not accredited in BFM before September 28 would revert to standard hours.

The group argued those who were forced to move back to the 12-hour work module would need to take a forced two-day break as part of compliance procedures.

The RTA, however, says it is not the case.

"RTA inspectors will not be requiring drivers moving off BFM hours and onto standard hours to undertake a 48 hour ‘reset’ break," the letter reads.

"RTA inspectors will not require these drivers to comply with the standard hours scheme’s rolling 7-day limit of 72 hours until midnight, October 5."

But it has warned the TOLG rest hour limits will be enforced from September 28.

The TOLG is an industry-government roundtable made up of RTA representatives, individual operators and representative groups.

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