NatRoad condemns ‘absurd’ fatigue laws in HVNL review

Clark says current 'dysfunctional' system needs rethink

NatRoad condemns ‘absurd’ fatigue laws in HVNL review
NatRoad says some fines have little to do with addressing the risks of driving whilst fatigued


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has taken aim at the current fatigue management approach in its submission to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review, calling for a reinvention of national fatigue laws.

NatRoad says the basis of its submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) was a number of case studies prior to the publication of the latter’s issues paper on fatigue management, highlighting "the unfairness and absurdity of the current fatigue management laws in the Heavy Vehicle National Law".

"What other Australian worker expects to receive a fine of $165 for not recording some information in a work diary?  No one does. But truck drivers put up with these indignities every day," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"Administrative fines for an error in failing to sign and date a diary page have little to do with controlling the risks of driving whilst fatigued. 

"That is, however, the unfortunate focus of the current Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) relating to fatigue management. You can be compliant but still fatigued."

Read NatRoad's contribution to the Productivity Commission’s transport reform review, here

Clark says NatRoad wants to see a system where enforcement under the new HVNL should target the most significant threats and consequences associated with driving fatigued.

"Enforcement efforts and sanctions should align with these threats and consequences. They should also be proportional to the severity of the risk.

"A first warning system for record-keeping should be implemented with failure to improve within a time limit set as the point at which any sanction for administrative breaches is imposed. 

"No restrictive diary requirements should be in play.

"The current system is dysfunctional, as shown by the case studies set out in the Issues Paper and added to in the NatRoad submission.

"Fatigue is a work health and safety issue and all drivers should be covered by a system that views fatigue management from a health and safety point of view.

One of the main conclusions of the NatRoad submission is that reform based on the WA system (where fatigue is regulated via work health and safety law) underpinning a performance-based system should be introduced. 

"This is an outcome that would assist regulators and the industry.

"NatRoad looks forward to continuing to assist the NTC in this vital review."

The full submission is available here.


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