The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been established to administer the new Heavy Vehicle National Law 2012, which is scheduled to commence on 10 February 2014. Once fully established, the NHVR will be a one-stop-shop for the majority of your heavy vehicle business.
This page relates to business that will fall under the responsibility of the NHVR once the new law commences later this year. For more information on when the new law will commence and how these changes may affect you, please visit our NHVR information page and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.
Driver fatigue or ‘drowsy driving’ is a significant safety hazard for the road transport industry. The main causes of ‘drowsy driving’ are too little sleep, driving at times when you would normally be asleep and working or being awake for very long hours.
National reforms were developed to combat heavy vehicle driver fatigue. The laws are for drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles.
The fatigue laws cover:
- working hours
- work diaries
- fatigue management accreditation schemes
- chain of responsibility.
Each person in the supply chain must take all reasonable steps to ensure a heavy vehicle driver can perform his or her duties without breaching road transport laws.
Fatigue regulated heavy vehicles
A fatigue regulated heavy vehicle is:
- a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of over 12t
- a combination when the total of the GVM is over 12t
- buses over 4.5t with a seating capacity of more than 12 adults (including the driver).
A truck, or a combination including a truck, with a GVM of over 12t with a machine or implement attached to it is a fatigue regulated heavy vehicle.
Some heavy vehicles are not classed as fatigue regulated heavy vehicles. These include trams, motor vehicles modified to primarily operate as a machine or implement (agricultural machinery, bulldozers, tractors, etc.) and motor homes specifically modified for residential purposes (not just built with a sleeper berth).
General duty requires all parties in the supply chain to take all reasonable steps to prevent the fatigue of heavy vehicle drivers. This is similar to occupational health and safety laws and means that:
drivers must stop if they are feeling tired and take short-term fatigue measures such as rest breaks
operators and schedulers must allow for adequate driver rest breaks and have flexible back-up plans to compensate for unplanned delays
loaders, unloaders and loading managers must make sure queuing is managed so loading/unloading is done in a way to prevent fatigue
consignors and consignees must make sure the terms of consignment will not result in, encourage, or provide an incentive for the driver (or a relevant party of the driver) to breach fatigue management laws.
Note: Contracts that require a driver to break the law are illegal.
Working hours options
There are three working hours options for operating under the fatigue management laws:
- Standard Hours (SH) for operators who do not have accreditation for fatigue management
- Basic fatigue management (BFM) for operators requiring some flexibility in their work and rest hours
- Advanced fatigue management (AFM) for operators who are able to demonstrate accountability for managing fatigue risks.
Drivers must work to standard hours if the operator they work for does not hold BFM or AFM accreditation. To be eligible to operate under BFM or AFM, operators must be appropriately accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.
Persons can drive as solo drivers, or drive under a two-up arrangement. Two-up driving means 2 persons share the driving task of a fatigue regulated heavy vehicle fitted with an approved sleeper berth.
Additional information about two-up driving can be found in the Drivers fact sheet or in the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) publication HVDF TwoUp Driving explained.
National driver work diaries
Drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles must complete and carry a national driver work diary in certain circumstances.
Requirement to complete a work diary
Drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles must complete a work diary if they are, or if they have in the last 28 days been:
- working more than 200km* from their base location
- working under any fatigue management accreditation (BFM/AFM)
- driving under a work and rest hours exemption.
*When the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is enacted in the near future the distance from base will be reduced in Queensland to 100km. That means that drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles operating more than 100km (not 200km) from their base will be required to carry and complete a national driver work diary. This will bring Queensland into line with other States and Territories operating under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
The driver’s base location is the place from which the driver normally works and receives instructions. This may be the 'garage address' of the vehicle, the location from which the business is operated, or another place such as a depot or site.
If drivers are working in another jurisdiction for less than 7 days they must continue to comply with their Queensland driving hours option and use their work diary. If they are operating in another jurisdiction for more than 7 days they should work to the fatigue management scheme of that jurisdiction.
The contact details for each jurisdiction can be found on the NTC website.
Work diaries must be completed in an approved way. Detailed instructions on how to complete a work diary can be found in the front of each work diary or in the Work Diary fact sheet.
Requirement to carry a work diary
Drivers must carry any work diary containing work and rest records of the last 28 days in the vehicle if they were required to record their working hours at any time in that period.
A work diary may include:
- a full (completed) work diary
- a supplementary work record
- a current work diary.
Work diary exemptions
Due to the nature of their operations, some operators and drivers in the heavy vehicle transport industry are unable to manage their business in a way that meets all the work diary requirements of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Fatigue Management) Regulation 2008 (the Regulation).
These operators and drivers are able to apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for an exemption from the requirement to fully comply with certain requirements.
Eligible applicants may apply for an exemption under the following sections of the Regulation:
- Section 158(3)(a) – a work diary exemption on the basis of inadequate literacy to drivers or employers of an employed driver
- Section 158(3)(b) – a work diary exemption on the basis of infrequency of *200+km work to drivers or employers of an employed driver.
Detailed information about the eligibility criteria for exemptions and the application process can be found in the work diary exemptions fact sheet and the fatigue management exemptions fact sheet.
Work and rest time recordkeeping
A record keeper is the employer, operator or driver of a vehicle (if he/she is self employed or an owner driver). Record keepers must keep copies of work diary pages, as well as records of driver rosters and payments to drivers for 3 years for audit purposes.
Records of driver work and rest time which do not have to be recorded in a work diary must also be kept by the record keeper.
If you are self-employed you must keep copies of all your work diaries and daily sheets. If you are an employed driver, your employer must keep these copies.
Work and rest hours exemptions
Due to the nature of their operations, some operators and drivers in the heavy vehicle transport industry are unable to manage their business in a way that meets all the work and rest hours requirements of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Fatigue Management) Regulation 2008 (the Regulation).
Under certain circumstances these operators and drivers are able to apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for an exemption from the requirement to fully comply with specific requirements.
Eligible applicants may apply for an exemption under the following sections of the Regulation:
- Section 154 – a work and rest hours exemption to a class of persons
- Section 157 – a work and rest hours exemption for particular employers of drivers or prime contractors for drivers or operators of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles or self employed drivers.
Detailed information about the eligibility criteria for exemptions and the application process can be found in the fatigue management exemptions factsheet.
Replacement work diaries
Drivers should get a new work diary before their current one is filled up. Work diaries are available from customer service centres, Queensland Government Agent Program offices, and some regional police stations.
Drivers must report a lost, stolen or destroyed work diary in writing to a road agency within 2 days. Drivers may use sample national driver work diary sheets as a supplementary work record for up to 7 business days until a new work diary is obtained.
For more information, view a sample national driver work diary daily sheet and the instructions for its use. A sample can also be found on the NTC website.
Electronic work diary pilot
New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) in partnership with the NTC, the Australian Government, state road agencies and state police is conducting an operational pilot of electronic work diaries.
The electronic work diary pilot (the Pilot) is being conducted with the cooperation of transport industry associations, transport operators and drivers and the active participation of transport agencies.
Visit the Electronic work diary website for more information.
Fatigue offence demerit points and penalties
Demerit point offences and fines are in force for drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles who commit work diary and/or work/rest driving-hour breaches. Penalties are proportionate to the offence.
Court imposed fines may be issued to any party under Chain of Responsibility provisions if their actions, inactions or instructions contribute to a breach in road transport laws.