NatRoad slams ‘reck­less’ fa­tigue stance

De­lay on ad­dress­ing two-up fa­tigue reg­u­la­tion changes crit­i­cised

Owner Driver - - The Goods -

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?”


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