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Fatigue management

On 10 February 2014 the Heavy Vehicle National Law 2012 (HVNL) commenced, replacing existing laws governing the operation of all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) was established to administer the HVNL and is now the first point of contact for the majority of your heavy vehicle business.

Driver fatigue

This page contains general information about the management of the fatigue of heavy vehicle drivers as well as relevant links to the NHVR’s webpage and the current legislation.

What is driver fatigue?
Driver fatigue  when a driver’s ability to drive safely is reduced as a result of being physically or mentally tired or sleepy. 

Driver fatigue or 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.

Fatigue regulated heavy vehicle
National laws are now in place to combat heavy vehicle driver fatigue. The laws are for drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles which are:

  • vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of over 12t 
  • combinations 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

Some heavy vehicles which meet the above criteria are not classed as fatigue regulated heavy vehicles however. These include trams, motor vehicles modified to primarily operate as a machine or implement (such as agricultural machinery, bulldozers, tractors, etc) and motor homes specifically modified for residential purposes (not just built with a sleeper berth).

The fatigue laws cover:

  • work and rest hours 
  • work diaries 
  • fatigue management accreditation schemes
  • chain of responsibility.

National driver work diaries

Drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles must complete and carry a national driver work diary if they are, or if they have in the last 28 days been:

  • working more than 100km from their base location 
  • working under any fatigue management accreditation (Basic Fatigue Management (BFM)/Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) 
  • driving under a work and rest hours exemption.

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.

Purchasing a national driver work diary

Work diaries are available in Queensland from Department of Transport and Main Roads’ customer service centres, Queensland Government Agent Program offices, and some regional police stations.

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.
Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Inspectors and Queensland Police Officers continue to have responsibility for enforcement of the national fatigue laws in Queensland.

Further information
For more information and fact sheets visit the NHVR's fatigue management website.

Electronic work diary pilot

New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) in partnership with the National Transport Commission, 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.

For more information visit the electronic work diary website.

Last updated
13 March 2014