Elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing fu­ture

Reg­u­la­tory bod­ies are nudg­ing to­wards the adop­tion of elec­tronic work di­aries but there is much to be con­sid­ered be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion com­mences

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS ANJALI BEHL

Reg­u­la­tory bod­ies are nudg­ing to­wards the adop­tion of elec­tronic work di­aries

T he sub­ject of elec­tronic work di­aries (EWDs) has been around for many years but Aus­tralia is yet to make a for­mal en­try into this tech­nol­o­gy­driven sys­tem of driver mon­i­tor­ing and record-keep­ing. While it is still a vol­un­tary al­ter­na­tive to writ­ten work di­aries ( WWD) that are cur­rently used to meet fa­tigue man­age­ment obli­ga­tions, in­dus­try out­look in­di­cates the sys­tem is poised for greater adop­tion across fleets of var­i­ous sizes.

Reg­u­la­tory author­i­ties be­lieve that the sys­tem is bet­ter equipped to man­age fa­tigue obli­ga­tions by ac­cu­rately record­ing a driver’s work. Fleet op­er­a­tors and man­agers will have ac­cess to this data in real time, adding a level of trans­parency that is par­tic­u­larly de­sir­able for larger fleets and long-haul op­er­a­tors.

For smaller fleets, one of the key ben­e­fits of the sys­tem is the elim­i­na­tion of pa­per records, which can save both time and re­sources. It can also re­duce the amount of time drivers spend on main­tain­ing their pa­per-based log­books.

The Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC) has been work­ing on projects re­lated to devel­op­ing the pol­icy and leg­isla­tive framework for EWD. How­ever, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sys­tem will be the lead re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor (NHVR).

The NTC states that the EWD sys­tem has the “po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove fa­tigue man­age­ment”. Its June 2014 re­port, Elec­tronic

Work Di­aries: Fi­nal pol­icy pa­per, notes: “The EWD can assist drivers to com­ply with the law and con­trib­ute to a sys­tems-based ap­proach to man­ag­ing drivers’ per­for­mance in the con­text of chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity. Th­ese ben­e­fits are un­der­pinned by higher vis­i­bil­ity of work and rest hours, im­proved ac­cu­racy and ac­ces­si­bil­ity and im­proved self-com­pli­ance. En­force­ment can also be im­proved – the ac­cu­racy and higher prob­a­bil­ity of de­tec­tion en­ables reg­u­la­tors and en­force­ment agen­cies to in­tel­li­gently as­sess risk and iden­tify high non­com­pli­ance.”

The NTC is cur­rently pro­vid­ing ad­vice to the NHVR and Trans­port Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Aus­tralia ( TCA) to ad­vance im­ple­men­ta­tion across the in­dus­try.

So far, mainly larger or long-haul fleets have ac­knowl­edged the ben­e­fits of EWD but the sys­tem is ex­pected to gain ap­proval of medium to rel­a­tively smaller fleets in the near fu­ture. Ac­cord­ing to a Tele­trac Nav­man sur­vey con­ducted late last year, cur­rently one in 10 road trans­port busi­nesses use EWDs, mainly those run­ning larger fleets.

How­ever, roughly a quar­ter of road trans­port fleets, in­clud­ing a third of those with six or more trucks, plan to in­tro­duce EWD within the year, with many fleets able to ac­ti­vate func­tion­al­ity within ex­ist­ing telem­at­ics sys­tems.

The fi nd­ings of the re­port, which was pro­duced by ACA Re­search, out­line some of the key ben­e­fits of the EWD sys­tem, in­clud­ing mon­i­tor­ing driver per­for­mance, com­pli­ance, and elim­i­nat­ing the need to main­tain pa­per records.

While up to 86 per cent of larger fleet – such as those with 25 trucks or more – agree that EWD ben­e­fits their busi­ness, even 55 per cent of smaller op­er­a­tors – such as those with one or two trucks – saw ben­e­fits of the sys­tem to their op­er­a­tions.

“So far, mainly larger or long-haul eets have ac­knowl­edged the bene ts of EWD but the sys­tem is ex­pected to gain ap­proval of medium to rel­a­tively smaller eets in the near fu­ture”

KEY CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS

The EWD im­ple­men­ta­tion is set to fol­low a leg­isla­tive amend­ment process. There are many fac­tors of con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore the Heavy Ve­hi­cle

Na­tional Law (HVNL) is amended, in­clud­ing com­pli­ance and en­force­ment prin­ci­ples, scope of reg­u­la­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion, min­i­mum stan­dards of telem­at­ics, treat­ment of small breaches, and pri­vacy and sur­veil­lance rules. The lat­ter two have been given con­sid­er­able thought by the NTC and other stake­hold­ers thus far.

Treat­ment of small breaches

Although the in­creased ac­cu­racy and trans­parency of the EWD sys­tem has its ben­e­fits, it has a few com­pli­ca­tions as well. With in­creased vis­i­bil­ity it is more likely that small breaches can be eas­ily de­tected.

The NTC states the ac­cu­racy and trans­parency of the EWD sys­tem chal­lenges the tra­di­tional en­force­ment per­spec­tives. Its pol­icy re­port notes that many stake­hold­ers agree that ac­cred­ited op­er­a­tors or those op­er­at­ing within a safety man­age­ment sys­tem must be al­lowed to han­dle cases of small work diary breaches in­stead of en­force­ment agen­cies.

“We want author­i­ties to tar­get those peo­ple who sys­tem­at­i­cally flaunt the laws that are meant to keep all road users safe,” NTC chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Ret­ter states.

“Were en­force­ment agen­cies to tar­get small breaches, they would likely confl ict with their own in­ter­nal poli­cies re­gard­ing ap­pro­pri­ate and pro­por­tion­ate en­force­ment ac­tion and, if en­forced, would likely be con­sid­ered triv­ial by the courts.

“The key pol­icy ques­tions re­late to achiev­ing eq­uity be­tween EWD and WWD drivers, agree­ment on the ac­cept­able limit of a small breach be­fore en­force­ment ac­tion should be taken, and the form in which the pol­icy po­si­tion is con­veyed to in­dus­try, for ex­am­ple, in na­tional guide­lines or leg­is­la­tion.”

Dur­ing its EWD Op­er­a­tional Pi­lot, the NTC sought ad­vice from four fa­tigue and road safety ex­perts in­clud­ing Pro­fes­sor Drew Dawson, Dr Mark Howard, Pro­fes­sor Narelle Ha­worth and Pro­fes­sor Ann Wil­liamson on the fa­tigue im­pact of the rec­om­mended ap­proach and the mar­gin of time breach. Dawson, Howard and Ha­worth as­sessed the fa­tigue risk of a non-ac­cu­mu­la­tive breach of up to eight min­utes is likely to be neg­li­gi­ble. How­ever, Wil­liamson sug­gested that, based on the ex­ist­ing knowl­edge about fa­tigue and per­for­mance, longer work pe­ri­ods and work that ex­tends through the night pe­riod will re­sult in greater fa­tigue.

While she ac­knowl­edged the po­ten­tial ben­e­fit of al­low­ing up to eight min­utes for those drivers who would oth­er­wise not ap­ply the round­ing rules cor­rectly us­ing a WWD, Wil­liamson ad­vised against ex­tend­ing any lim­its to basic fa­tigue man­age­ment (BFM) and ad­vanced fa­tigue man­age­ment (AFM).

Wil­liamson has pre­vi­ously stated that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an elec­tronic log­book sys­tem will not be much dif­fer­ent to the WWD process. She says that EWDs can­not alone en­sure safety and com­pli­ance and there is a need to tackle the com­mer­cial pres­sures in the in­dus­try to re­duce the stress drivers al­ready ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pri­vacy and sur­veil­lance

With the trans­parency of­fered by the sys­tem, all par­ties that han­dle personal in­for­ma­tion con­tained in an EWD have added re­spon­si­bil­ity to man­age the in­for­ma­tion of drivers within the pa­ram­e­ters of the pri­vacy and sur­veil­lance laws. Th­ese in­cor­po­rate reg­u­lar mon­i­tors in­clud­ing fleet man­agers, record-keep­ers and ser­vice providers and oc­ca­sional man­agers such as the NHVR and po­lice.

Ad­di­tion­ally, un­der the sur­veil­lance laws, it is im­por­tant that the driver has in­formed knowl­edge of the sur­veil­lance.

The NTC sug­gests all par­ties to “as­sess, de­sign and man­age their pri­vacy re­spon­si­bil­i­ties legally and ef­fec­tively. Com­ply­ing with pri­vacy laws will not only min­imise non­com­pli­ance but in­crease in­dus­try con­fi­dence in the EWD – a crit­i­cal fea­ture in a vol­un­tary en­vi­ron­ment.”

It also rec­om­mends the EWD sys­tem and its associated in­sti­tu­tional en­vi­ron­ment to “adopt a pri­vacy-by- de­sign ap­proach to en­sure the EWD sys­tem can co- ex­ist with other reg­u­la­tory and/ or com­mer­cial telem­at­ics sys­tems and only uses personal in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary to un­der­take the EWD task and to keep the data anony­mous were pos­si­ble”.

AMER­I­CAN PER­SPEC­TIVE

Last month, a num­ber of truck drivers across the United States protested against the sched­uled man­date that will make elec­tronic log­ging de­vices (ELD) com­pul­sory for road freight car­ri­ers.

A re­port pub­lished by the Amer­i­can Broad­cast­ing Com­pany-affi li­ated WHSV TV sta­tion, ‘ Truck drivers protest elec­tronic log­ging de­vices’, noted that the main is­sue for drivers was ELD- en­forced hours of ser­vice.

The sys­tem is de­signed to al­low drivers 14 hours of work per day fol­lowed by 10 con­sec­u­tive hours off duty.

How­ever, the soft­ware re­quires con­tin­u­ous log­ging, so if a driver takes a break be­tween the work pe­riod, they will have to make up for the lost time dur­ing that 14-hour block.

The Amer­i­can driv­ing com­mu­nity ar­gues that the ELD sys­tem forces drivers to take a break based on the rule book and not their body clock.

With the US man­date due to come into ef­fect on De­cem­ber 18, many drivers in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Colum­bus, and Minneapolis were re­ported to have stopped their trucks on the sides of roads as a sign of protest. They said the ELD guide­lines re­lated to work and break time will make de­liv­er­ies more chal­leng­ing.

De­vel­oped by the US’s Fed­eral Mo­tor Car­rier Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FMCSA), the rule man­dates all fleets to im­ple­ment cer­ti­fied elec­tronic log­ging de­vice (ELD) sys­tems to record a driver’s hours of ser­vice.

Fleets al­ready equipped with any form of elec­tronic log­ging tech­nol­ogy have un­til De­cem­ber 2019 to en­sure com­pli­ance with the ELD spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

This is one of the key dif­fer­ences in the North Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian sys­tems.

The NTC states that the Aus­tralian EWD sys­tem will not be com­pul­sory: “While all fa­tigue-reg­u­lated drivers must record their work and rest hours, drivers and op­er­a­tors can choose to record th­ese hours with ei­ther pa­per work di­aries or EWDs.

“The NTC and other agen­cies hope that the ben­e­fits of EWD will en­cour­age rather than force heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors and drivers to switch from pa­per work di­aries.”

De­tailed plans for im­ple­ment­ing the sys­tem are be­ing de­vel­oped by the na­tional reg­u­la­tor in as­so­ci­a­tion with the NTC and TCA.

The NHVR is due to pub­lish the EWD stan­dards to­wards the end of the year. Once th­ese plans are com­plete, tech­nol­ogy providers and trans­port op­er­a­tors in­ter­ested in im­ple­ment­ing an EWD sys­tem can con­tact NHVR to have their prod­uct as­sessed for ap­proval.

“Un­der the sur­veil­lance laws, it is im­por­tant that the driver has in­formed knowl­edge of the sur­veil­lance”

Top left: Elec­tronic work di­aries are ex­pected to make log­book en­tries faster and more ac­cu­rate. Pic­tured is a North Amer­i­can ver­sion

Above: Paul Ret­ter says the EWD sys­tem will make com­pli­ance eas­ier

Op­po­site: Prof Ann Wil­liamson is not con­vinced that EWD sys­tem will have the pos­i­tive ef­fect that reg­u­la­tors talk about

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