Concerned drivers call NHVR over fatigue management issues

Truck drivers are unsure about how to count work and rest time correctly under fatigue management law.  Rest-area-sign

A recent spate of calls from truck drivers to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) about fatigue management has prompted a reminder about how to comply with the law.

The NHVR says it has received a number of enquiries from drivers about how to count work time correctly to ensure they do not exceed their permitted work hours within a 24-hour period.

The agency yesterday sent a memo to industry about correct counting procedures and adds that explanations can also be found in work diaries drivers are required to maintain.

Those under standard hours can work 12 hours in a 24-hour period, while drivers with basic fatigue management (BFM) accreditation can work 14 hours.

Some of the questions lodged with the NHVR relate to counting a 24-hour period, when the 24-hour period restarts and if drivers can resume work immediately after taking a major rest break.

“A 24-hour period starts at the end of any relevant major rest break, which is any period of rest of at least 5 or 7 continuous hours (depending on your work and rest option),” the NHVR memo states.

“The 24-hour period ends 24 hours later (at the exact same time on the following day), regardless of how much work you have done or rest you have taken during that time.

“It is important to remember that the 5 or 7 continuous hour period for a major rest break is the minimum amount of continuous rest required in a 24-hour period.”

The NHVR has sought to remind drivers that taking a major rest break will not reset a 24-hour period.

“A major rest break during this time will only start another 24-hour period. This means that a solo driver (under Standard Hours) who works 12 hours in a 24-hour period must also have a total of 12 hours rest,” the NHVR says.

It adds that resuming work immediately after a major rest break depends on how many hours a driver has worked in the relevant 24-hour period.

“If you have worked less than your maximum work hours for that 24-hour period, you can work any remaining hours after finishing your break,” the NHVR says.

The NHVR became responsible for fatigue management when the Heavy Vehicle National Law took effect in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.