Owner-driver to fight inconsistent fatigue laws


Veteran owner-driver may lose his livelihood over inconsistent fatigue laws. He was compliant in NSW but breached Victorian conditions

Owner-driver to fight inconsistent fatigue laws
Owner-driver to fight inconsistent fatigue laws
By Brad Gardner | May 19, 2010

An owner-driver may lose his livelihood after being caught out by inconsistent fatigue management laws.

Allan Lovett is facing $2,500 in fines and the loss of demerit points after he was recently issued with five fatigue breaches in Victoria despite complying with the laws in NSW.

Unlike Queensland and NSW which count work time from the end of a major rest break, Victoria counts time from any 15 minute interval it chooses, potentially exposing drivers to a litany of breaches.

The 56-year-old road veteran of 35 years had his work diary cleared by a NSW enforcement officer before crossing the border, where it was checked by Victoria Police.

"I could lose my licence. If it carries demerit points I will be buggered," Lovett says of the breaches.

"I had my compulsory break in NSW."

Lovett says he cannot afford a hefty fine and will fight the breaches when he goes to court in June.

He says he and many drivers are trying to do the right thing but are being exposed by cross-border inconsistencies.

"It’s getting beyond a joke," he says.

"I’ve been on the road for 35 years and I’ve hardly been pulled up. Since these laws, blokes are getting pulled up left, right and centre."

INDUSTRY PUSHES FOR CHANGE
A Queensland-based trucking company is currently fighting to have similar breaches overturned.

Its driver was slugged with seven infringements while travelling in Victoria despite meeting his obligations while driving through Queensland and NSW.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently looking at resolving fatigue management inconsistencies, but the Australian Trucking Association wrote to it earlier this month urging the matter be accelerated.

"The ATA and its member entities are very interested in achieving common time counting rules so the industry can have certainty so operators can comply with their fatigue obligations," ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says.


Have you been stung by inconsistent fatigue management laws? Should Victoria adopt the same rules as Queensland and NSW? Leave your thoughts below or contact ATN.


You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook