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 framework


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

- 8.1(a): Making counting time simpler - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- 8.1(b): Reclassifying time using a “rest reference” - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

8.2: Revision to Tier 2 and 3 of fatigue management framework - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

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: Widen the scope of fatigue requirements - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- 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

Record keeping


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


8.4: Reforms to make record-keeping simpler and risk based - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0

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.


8.6: National health assessment standard - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0

8.7: Right to stop if deemed not fit for duty - read in the RIS and HVNL 20

8.8: Driver self-assessment and declaration of fitness to work - read in the RIS