Get­ting a lit­tle per­sonal time

NHVR seeks sub­mis­sions from driv­ers for ex­tra hour

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Bruce Honey­will bruce.honey­will@bi­

YOU drive a truck from one side of the coun­try to the other, you pull up in the mar­kets, swing the doors open, fork­lifts roar with the stink of gas, the load is com­ing off.

It could be trop­i­cal fruit from Queens­land soon to be dis­played in Mel­bourne’s gro­cery stores, it could be citrus from West­ern Aus­tralia to put a smile on chil­dren’s faces in Syd­ney.

The freight could be any one of a thou­sand things, the ne­ces­si­ties of life.

You the driver, or me, has squeezed in driv­ing times, made the un­load­ing slot. You open the log book and are out of time. Do the ad­di­tion, sub­trac­tion, scratch the lines and sign the page.

Ac­cord­ing to the work diary we are out of hours. Get out of the truck, stretch, stack the boards and pogo sticks in the fridge ready for load­ing, slam the door shut.

You know that to drive down the road to find some­where to camp, get that seven hours the log­book has promised, is fraught with the dan­gers of an en­force­ment of­fi­cer check­ing the log­book and the pos­si­ble in­fringe­ment is worth sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars, the best part of a week’s wages down the drain.

The Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor has called for sub­mis­sions from driv­ers, owner-driv­ers and fleet own­ers for com­ment on the in­tro­duc­tion of get­ting up to one hour driv­ing time when a driver is out of le­gal time.

This ex­tra hour is only, so the pro­posal goes, for per­sonal use.

NHVR boss Sal Petroc­citto an­nounced the pro­posal and call for sub­mis­sions from the NatRoad con­fer­ence at Hamil­ton Is­land.

It is called a “per­sonal use ex­emp­tion” and is in­tended to al­low op­er­a­tors some per­sonal use of the heavy ve­hi­cle out­side regulated driv­ing hours.

“Un­der the pro­posal op­er­a­tors would be able to use a heavy ve­hi­cle for per­sonal use for up to one hour at the end of the day or on a day off,” Mr Petroc­citto said from the trop­i­cal re­treat.

New South Wales al­ready has a one-hour per­sonal use ex­emp­tion and the NHVR is at­tempt­ing to bring it into re­al­ity in all states which have signed up to Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law.

At this stage the idea is only in in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tion and “we con­tinue to work closely with the heavy ve­hi­cle in­dus­try to pro­vide flex­i­bil­ity around fa­tigue while still main­tain­ing the high­est safety standards,” Mr Petroc­citto said.

Sub­mis­sions will be re­ceived for a month.

The NHVR has an­nounced that it would have a ‘Fo­cus on Fa­tigue’ ini­tia­tive over the com­ing month.

This an­nounce­ment demon­strates how the NHVR has to­tal de­pen­dence on the work diary as the best way to pre­dict and as­sess a driver’s po­ten­tial level of fa­tigue im­pair­ment.

Dur­ing this ‘Fo­cus on Fa­tigue’ month, “there will also be a num­ber of co­or­di­nated en­force­ment op­er­a­tions tak­ing place across the coun­try in the com­ing weeks with a spe­cific tar­get on work and rest ar­eas and the cor­rect fill­ing out of a work diary.”

Sounds to Big Rigs that a blitz is de­scend­ing on an in­dus­try that many would con­sider al­ready over en­forced.


ADDING UP: Get­ting an ex­tra hour for per­sonal use at the end of a long day will give driv­ers a lit­tle flex­i­bil­ity.

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