The future HVNL needs a new approach to managing fatigue that:
- better aligns fatigue management with fatigue risk
- makes managing fatigue simpler through easier-to-understand rules
- reduces administration and paperwork
- delivers flexibility to manage real-world delays and unforeseeable events
- caters to diverse operators, operations and environments
- provides valuable alternative compliance options to certified operators.
Chapter 8 of the RIS explains the options for fatigue management under the future HVNL.
Summary of problems and options
Fatigue management under the HVNL is highly prescriptive. The inputs or
specific actions that parties must take are specified in detail rather than the safety outcomes they must
deliver. In addition to hours of work and rest, the HVNL prescribes both how to count time, how to record
time, and how rest breaks should be taken. For many operators, prescription may be desirable in
principle as it provides a level of certainty around what they are required to do. However, the specific
requirements in the HVNL are complex and highly administrative.
8.1: Making standard hours less complex
Expand the scope of fatigue provisions
Fatigue management requirements under the HVNL only apply to fatigue regulated heavy vehicles (FRHVs). FRHV is defined as a vehicle
(or vehicle combination) with a GVM of more than 12 tonnes. These vehicles are primarily focused
on long-haul interstate journeys. In addition, while work diaries are the primary tool for checking
compliance, they are not required for ‘local work’─ that is, vehicles operating within 100 km of their
base. This seems to implicitly presume that long-haul operations have a higher fatigue risk. As a
result, the HVNL does not address fatigue risks associated with smaller heavy vehicles or those
undertaking localised trips.
- 8.3(a): Target requirements at high-risk category drivers
- 8.3(b): Widen the scope of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles
- 8.3(c): A combination of specific drivers and specific vehicles
A whole division of the HVNL is dedicated to work diary requirements. It outlines detailed requirements
for obtaining, filling in and carrying a work diary, and there are even more work diary requirements in
the regulations. Drivers must also follow very specific instructions for filling in the work diary itself. The complexity of the work and rest requirements also means that the information that drivers need to
record is highly detailed. There is a lot of scope for administrative error and often unintentional errors
result in disproportionately punitive fines
8.5: Mandate electronic records - read in the RIS.
Driver health and fitness for duty
The current HVNL provisions do not adequately address the level of fitness, health and wellbeing of
drivers. Driver health is known to increase the risk of driver fatigue.
8.8: Driver self-assessment and declaration of fitness to work - read in the RIS