ALRTA welcomes NHVR’s personal use exemption effort


Keenan calls for national application, says exemption will result in better quality rest for drivers

ALRTA welcomes NHVR’s personal use exemption effort
Keenan says NSW-like heavy vehicle personal use laws should apply across all states and territories.

 

The proposed national work and rest exemption allowing limited personal use of heavy vehicles will harmonise state laws, the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) states.

The national livestock transport body has welcomed the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR’s) month-long consultation on the proposed exemption.

NHVR has proposed that the national exemption will apply during a driver’s 24-hour rest break and at the end of the shift (prior to a major rest break), with permission for activities such as accessing personal effects, cleaning, refuelling, and driving for personal reasons.

ALRTA national president Kevin Keenan says the exemption will result in better quality rest for long-haul drivers.
 
"Short-distance drivers can usually make it home to access sleeping quarters, meals or washing facilities, as well as their own private vehicle for personal use," Keenan says.

"In contrast, long-distance drivers are often forced to rest at inhospitable locations with no amenities whatsoever.

"Uninterrupted sleep, eating well and keeping clean are fundamental to maintaining alertness and vehicle control. 

"It is also important to relieve boredom during longer breaks in isolated locations."

Keenan says while the laws are more flexible in New South Wales, it is important to expand the coverage to other states and territories to promote better quality rest for long-haul drivers.

"In NSW, drivers are allowed up to one hour personal use of a heavy vehicle during a 24hr break to undertake tasks such as cleaning, refuelling or driving for non-work related purposes," he says.

"While ALRTA strongly supports the principle underpinning this limited exemption, it is just as important to promote better rest quality during the working week, and of course NSW is not the only location where such flexibility would be beneficial.

"A national work and rest exemption would ensure a consistent approach across all Heavy Vehicle National Law jurisdictions and promote better quality rest for long-distance drivers."

ALRTA had raised the issue during a meeting of the NHVR Livestock and Rural Transporters Industry Operation Group in September 2016 and subsequently wrote to NHVR to include the matter in its 2017 work program.

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