The primary purpose of the HVNL is to ensure a safe and efficient heavy vehicle journey. This is made of a safe driver, a safe vehicle and a suitable route.

This topic and issues paper covers one key aspect of a safe driver: managing fatigue. It uses the risk-based approach outlined in the first issues paper to identify problems in the current fatigue management provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

The issues paper identifies the problems with the current law and the high-level principles that a revised law should consider.

There will be future opportunities to tell us about the specifics of access, safe people and practices, safe vehicles, accreditation, compliance and technology and other matters.

Effective Fatigue Management

The HVNL aims to deliver safe driver outcomes through effective fatigue management.

The fatigue management provisions in the current laws specify:

  • safety duties (primary and fatigue specific) and accountability under the chain of resposibility
  • maximum work and minimum rest requirements
  • work diaries and record keeping, and
  • fatigue management accreditation schemes - Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) and Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).

In practice, the main control for driver fatigue is a combination of maximum work and minimum rest hours. Work diaries ensure compliance with work and rest hours.

Problems with fatigue management under the HVNL

Through consultation with industry, regulators, jurisdictions (participating and non-participating), the NTC understands the high-level problems with the HVNL are that the law:

  • does not prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel when fatigued
  • does not manage fatigue risks effectively
  • does not recognise or encourage better fatigue management systems
  • is inflexible and not always matched to the task
  • is complex and prescriptive
  • has limited enforcement options and imposes punitive sanctions

Share your ideas

We are seeking your advice until Friday 16 August 2019 on whether we have identified all the problems and any preliminary views on the ways we can improve fatigue management in a future HVNL.

To upload a formal written submission please visit the NTC website.

Have your say

Quick Poll

Do you think fatigue management should be covered by work, health and safety legislation only?
Rate questions from strongly disagree to strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly agree
HVNL fatigue management requirements should apply to all heavy vehicles greater than 4.5 tonnes
Driver health and lifestyle factors should be addressed by the HVNL
All drivers should receive fatigue management training
Work diaries are easy to use
Fatigue monitoring technology can replace work and rest hour requirements
Simple, clear rules are needed for operators without the resources to develop fatigue management systems

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