Fa­tigue ex­emp­tion ap­proved

Driv­ers al­lowed an ex­tra hour for per­sonal use

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kirstin Payne

AN EX­TRA hour in the day to make it home is all a busy driver can wish for.

Well, it seems that wish has been granted by the NHVR which an­nounced, in a ma­jor win for the in­dus­try, it would al­low driv­ers to use a fa­tigue-reg­u­lated heavy ve­hi­cle for per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing a 24-hour rest break or at the end of their shift.

The de­ci­sion, an­nounced in late Jan­uary, which was widely wel­comed by those in the sec­tor, fol­lows months of con­sul­ta­tion on the mat­ter.

The pro­posed ex­emp­tion must be used for pri­vate or non-com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, such as reach­ing suit­able sleep­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and re­stock­ing sup­plies for a trip.

Per­mit­ted per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties can in­clude, re­triev­ing per­sonal items such as gro­ceries, clean­ing a heavy ve­hi­cle, re­fu­elling or at­tend­ing to per­sonal mat­ters.

For driver Bruce Skel­ton, the change has added some le­nience to the rigid fa­tigue laws he has to deal with on a daily ba­sis.

“It’s not like you can jump in a taxi whereever you stop, so it is a good thing but I think they can do a bit more to make it more flex­i­ble,” he said.

“There still aren’t enough places to park when we need to ac­cess shops any­way.

“Hon­estly they are just le­gal­is­ing what a lot of peo­ple were al­ready do­ing,” he said.


How is it will be im­por­tant, this needs to ben­e­fit driv­ers not their em­ploy­ers

— Michael Cramp

Queens­land based truckie Tom Bos­ton also wants the laws to go fur­ther.

As a driver who op­er­ates un­der an Ad­vanced Fa­tigue Man­age­ment, the changes won’t be avail­able to him.

“For me it is a moot is­sue, we don’t get to use it but we still need it,” he said.

“Just the other day I had to have a re­set brake in a small town. I had to grab sup­plies be­fore my time ran out and just sat there for 24 hours without any trans­port,” he said.

“It is a bit of a band-aid: I would like to see some­thing spread across the board.

“If you com­bine the tech­nol­ogy and data catch­ing they can do now, I don’t know why th­ese log books are still a thing.

“Fa­tigue should just be recorded and man­aged.

“Pa­per log books re­ally should be a thing of the past and driv­ers should be able to man­age their own fa­tigue,” he said.

Oth­ers how­ever have raised con­cerns the ex­tra hours may be ex­ploited by some em­ploy­ers.

Michael Cramp, who has worked in the in­dus­try for decades, said he hoped the ex­emp­tion wasn’t abused.

“As my per­sonal view, for its in­tended pur­poses the changes are fine, but to fuel it up or wash the truck are re­ally work-re­lated tasks,” he said.

“How is it recorded will be im­por­tant, this needs to ben­e­fit driv­ers not their em­ploy­ers,” he said. ■ Ninety per cent of sub­mis­sions re­ceived by the NHVR sup­ported the change.


ME TIME: Driv­ers will be al­lowed flex­i­bil­ity when it comes to us­ing their trucks for per­sonal rea­sons.

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