South Australia eyes fatigue changes by November

South Australia aims to change fatigue management time counting rule by November

By Brad Gardner | September 28, 2011

South Australia is eyeing a November deadline for changes to fatigue management time counting rules, more than four months after it agreed to do so.

On the back of sustained pressure from the trucking industry, South Australia and Victoria agreed in June to adopt the same counting model for work and rest hours as NSW and Queensland.

Currently, the time counting differences mean a driver complying with fatigue laws in NSW and Queensland can be found guilty of serious breaches when crossing the border into Victoria or South Australia.

"South Australia is currently moving to implementing the changes to the regulations to adopt this national approach in November 2011, if not earlier. This will closely align to Victoria's implementation date at the end of October," a spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure says.

"In the interim, South Australia continues to enforce current state laws until the amendments are effective."

Transport ministers voted in favour of the changes during the June Australian Transport Council (ATC) meeting. The proposal came from the National Transport Commission (NTC), which took up trucking’s case after lobbying from industry associations.

Under the existing regime, Queensland and NSW count driving time from a major rest break to determine if a driver has worked the correct amount of hours in a 24-hour period.

Victorian and South Australian enforcement officers can count time from any rest break, potentially exposing drivers to multiple fatigue breaches.

Momentum for change gathered pace after the NSW branch of the Transport Workers Union successfully defended two owner-drivers caught out by the inconsistent counting rules while travelling through South Australia.

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) highlighted the problem in May last year when it defended a Queensland-based driver charged with seven offences for violating his driving hour limits in Victoria.

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