SARTA raises EWD draft framework concerns

Drivers using it may be unfairly vulnerable compared with those using paper diaries, industry body warns

SARTA raises EWD draft framework concerns
The EWD document cover


Electronic work diaries (EWDs) threaten to become the oppressive compliance tool many in the industry worried it might, the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) fears.

In commentary to its members and in SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer’s comments to ATN, SARTA has raised concerns about the direction and tenor of the proposed work diary reform as reflected in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR’s) draft Policy Framework and Standards document.

The document, a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), will expose drivers to a level of scrutiny greater than that for those using paper diaries as they will reveal, on demand, even the most minor transgression over the preceding four weeks.

"If you use EWDs in your fleet they will, under the proposed standards, hang your drivers out to dry because EWD’s will be required to produce for officers on the roadside a list of all breaches for the past 28 days," SARTA says.

The state industry body continues: "This is not only unfair and places the users of EWDs at a significant disadvantage to drivers who use paper work diaries, by doing the work for the officers and pointing out even the miniscule ‘technical non safety related’ breaches that generally would not be picked up as comprehensively in a paper Work Diary.

"So it’s clear from this new proposal from the NHVR that the primary focus of EWDs is not safety and fatigue management but rather it is first and foremost about compliance and enforcement . . . and fines, lots of them."

The criticism comes despite the NPRM stating that the EWD provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) "are designed to avoid overly prescriptive or restrictive requirements, and facilitate the implementation of new technology in a dynamic and progressive environment.

"The EWD Policy Framework builds on this to provide clarity on issues associated with the EWD legislative framework and to allow for agile regulatory responses to operational issues faced in delivering and administrating the EWD function."

SARTA also critiques the national regulator for the timing of the document’s December 22 release announcement and therefor the time available for responses.

It says it means the five and a half weeks’ consultation is effectively two weeks less due to the festive season.

A response has been sought from the NHVR.

The EWD Policy and Standards document can be found here.


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