Industry bodies have come together to help the NTC assess two fatigue-related issues within the HVNL
INDUSTRY BODIES have come together to help the National Transport Comission (NTC) assess two fatigue-related issues within the Heavy
Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The two concerns, brought to the NTC’s attention last year, are transitioning between two-up and solo driving; and managing fatigue outside of participating states. The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), the Western Roads Federation and the Northern Territory Road Transport Association have submitted a joint submission to the NTC, citing a lack of clarity within the HVNL.
NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark says the first issue was raised by NatRoad members who were being fined when transitioning from two-up driving back to solo.
“Based on the current law, drivers operating under a two-up arrangement are unable to transition to solo driving unless they are fully compliant with solo work and rest hours or complete a reset rest break of 48 hours plus two consecutive night breaks,” Clark explains. “This means that there is no incentive for drivers to operate under a two-up arrangement.
“We believe a nationally agreed policy or a legislative amendment is needed for regulating work and rest hours when transitioning between two-up and solo driving. “
Section 245 of the HVNL requires drivers travelling in or out of Western Australia and the Northern Territory within a seven-day period to comply with HVNL fatigue laws, which can cause confusion.
Northern Territory Road Transport Association executive officer Louise Bilato says some operators based outside of NT assume that the fatigue requirements when they enter the state are less stringent than the HVNL scheme.
“The NT maintains a performancebased approach to managing driver fatigue under its work health and safety laws,” Bilato explains.
“Our submission does not intend to debate whether the HVNL is superior or inferior to the fatigue management requirements in the NT or WA, however, the different interpretations of safe work and rest hours has created considerable administrative complications for the industry and for regulators.”
NatRoad hopes the feedback will influence a more appropriate solution to the problem areas, and Clark reminds us the HVNL is due for review later this year.
“Given that the NTC has confirmed a complete review of the HVNL will be commenced later in 2018 and completed by the end of 2019 we anticipate that our feedback and recommendations will be used to inform more effective, interim, arrangements,” he says.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) welcomes feedback around the problem areas, highlighting the number of years the current system has been in place.
“We welcome industry feedback on a review of the fatigue provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law,” an NHVR spokesperson says. “Fatigue laws haven’t changed for many years and we look forward to receiving feedback from NTC and heavy vehicle industry around these sections of the fatigue laws.”