NatRoad slams ‘reckless’ fatigue stance
Delay on addressing two-up fatigue regulation changes criticised
KEEPING A FATIGUE REGULATION that prevents a rested driver from driving until they have waited seven hours is a “poor and reckless stance”, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says.
NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark makes the comments in a statement condemning what he says is the reluctance of state and territory governments to adopt a widely-agreed industry stance.
Instead, Clark says, the jurisdictions implied that the fatigue management regulations should be dealt with as part of a broader review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), expected in November. “The current law is illogical and should be changed as soon as possible,” he writes.
The issue at hand is rest requirements for people working in a two-up driving arrangement – where one driver rests while the other drives, swapping places when their work hour require them to do so.
Under the HVNL, two-up drivers are unable to transition from that into driving alone unless they are fully compliant with solo work and rest hours.
This requirement necessitates a seven-hour stationary rest break – meaning any rest taken inside the truck does not count.
In a submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) earlier this year, NatRoad argued that this requirement means there is no incentive for drivers to operate under a two-up arrangement if they need to transfer to solo driving.
The NTC subsequently proposed amendments to the fatigue management regulations that would allow drivers transitioning from a two-up to a solo driving arrangement to take their rest break in an approved sleeper berth of a moving vehicle.
Clark says the rejection of this proposal is a “poor and reckless stance. We are clearly very disappointed with this decision. If the governments will not support sensible changes to address an obvious gap in the fatigue rules, how on earth are they going to agree to the wholesale changes we urgently need to improve the management of fatigue?”