NTC seeks more information to bolster fatigue data

National Transport Commission says robust fatigue laws will depend on gathering significant data from the industry

NTC seeks more information to bolster fatigue data
National Transport Commission CEO Paul Retter.


The National Transport Commission (NTC) is looking to develop its knowledge of fatigue issues in the Australian heavy vehicle industry, and is calling for public submissions on ways to collect new data.

The commission released a discussion paper on Friday, and is hoping to build a comprehensive framework for fatigue data.

NTC CEO Paul Retter says the paper aims to gather as much evidence as possible, before the commission considers any changes to existing fatigue management laws.

"This project won’t be proposing changes to Australia’s fatigue laws, but it will ensure that we have consistent and more accurate data about how fatigue affects drivers and the safety of our nation’s roads," he says.

"We know that drowsy drivers are more likely to crash. Finding the best option to prevent these crashes relies on us developing a framework that may be used to inform changes to policy settings and amendments to fatigue laws."

The current heavy vehicle national law has provisions for work and rest hour rules, as well as an overarching prohibition on driving while impaired by fatigue. But Retter says these are often subjective.

"At the moment there is no simple test for driver alertness like there is for alcohol or speed, because fatigue levels are relatively difficult to establish and measure," he says.

"The challenge is to collect enough robust evidence about what fatigue level should be considered safe."

Submissions based on the discussion paper will be accepted up until October 16.

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