Overview

The future HVNL needs a new approach to managing fatigue that:

  • better aligns fatigue management with fatigue risk
  • makes managing fatigue simpler through easier-to-understand rules
  • reduces administration and paperwork
  • delivers flexibility to manage real-world delays and unforeseeable events
  • caters to diverse operators, operations and environments
  • provides valuable alternative compliance options to certified operators.

Chapter 8 of the RIS explains the options for fatigue management under the future HVNL.

Summary of issues and options

Fatigue framework

Issue:

  • The future HVNL might allow the NHVR to approve a work and rest schedule that are equivalent or lower risk than the prescribed hours within the general schedule.Cumulative on-duty/work time limits and rest requirements remain applicable, however how these are spread in a 7-day period (or 14-day cycle) can be varied to suit operational requirements.
  • Risk assessments may consider remote operations and may be limited to certified operators to help mitigate risks.
  • Outer driving time limits could likely be set in the HVNL.Schedules could be developed by the NHVR, or by operators and put to the NHVR for approval.
  • More flexibility could be provided for rest breaks allowing a 1-hour transfer and split rest break.The maximum 72-hour in a 7-day period could still apply.

Option:

8.1: Making standard hours less complex

  • The future HVNL might allow the NHVR to approve a work and rest schedule that are equivalent or lower risk than the prescribed hours within the general schedule.Cumulative on-duty/work time limits and rest requirements remain applicable, however how these are spread in a 7-day period (or 14-day cycle) can be varied to suit operational requirements.
  • Risk assessments may consider remote operations and may be limited to certified operators to help mitigate risks.
  • Outer driving time limits could likely be set in the HVNL.Schedules could be developed by the NHVR, or by operators and put to the NHVR for approval.
  • More flexibility could be provided for rest breaks allowing a 1-hour transfer and split rest break.The maximum 72-hour in a 7-day period could still apply.

- 8.1(a): Making counting time simpler - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- 8.1(b): Reclassifying time using a “rest reference” - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • Counting time under the current HVNL could be simpler involving changes to arrangements for standard hours for drivers:
    • The maximum continuous driving time could be shorter (4 hours vs the current 5 hrs 15 minutes), however short rest breaks and night rest breaks could not be prescribed
    • More driver discretion opportunities since the 1-hour transfer and split rest opportunities do not exist under the current prescribed rules.
  • Under this option, time could be reclassified to support simpler work and rest requirements with improved alignment with scientific evidence.This is where total daily driving time could be the same as ‘standard hours’ under the current HVNL, however the driver task could be broken up more and better linked to time elapsed since sleep.
  • Work time and driving could be simplified and linked to rest opportunity rather than 24-hour period. Avoiding the overlapping 24-hour period constraints e.g. A rest opportunity of 8+ continuous hours effectively resets allowable driving time.
  • A new general schedule could include options to manage unforeseeable events or disincentivising activities, by providing more flexibility e.g. in split rest breaks and single extended days.

8.2: Revision to Tier 2 and 3 of fatigue management framework - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • A new three-tiered fatigue management framework with clear points of delineation and increased flexibility where operators are not unnecessarily constrained by prescriptive rules could be established for Tier 1 (Standard hours) and Tier 2 (Performance-based).
  • The HVNL may provide additional compliance options for operators with the highest level of assurance:
    • Tier 3 – Safety assurance. For highly sophisticated operators, fatigue could be managed through a comprehensive data-driven safety management system (SMS). Schedules and record-keeping could not necessarily be required, however outer limits on driving hours may still apply.
  • Operators meeting a certain level of assurance could be able to operate under NHVR-approved schedules that have conditions.This could be in the form of fatigue and distraction detection technology (FDDT), driver training or medicals.

Driver health and fitness

Issue:

  • The current HVNL provisions do not adequately address the level of fitness, health and wellbeing of drivers. Driver health is known to increase the risk of driver fatigue.

Options:

Option 8.6 Driver medical standard

  • A driver medical standard could apply a medical fitness monitoring regime in a manner similar to that applied in rail. It would be drawn from the same medical base as Assessing Fitness to Drive and initially apply to drivers working for certified heavy vehicle operators.
  • The medical standard could specify:
    • criteria and testing for periodic health assessments
    • criteria and testing for triggered health assessments
    • options to manage medical and health conditions of drivers to reduce risks.

Read more in the RIS and HVNL 2.0

Option 8.7 Right to stop

  • Drivers could have a right, protected in law, to stop at the soonest safe opportunity if they are not fit to work - for example, if they become fatigued or unwell while driving.

Read more in the RIS and HVNL 2.0

Option 8.8 Driver self-assessment

  • A requirement could be placed on drivers to self-assess and declare their fitness to work at the start of a shift, and an obligation to ensure they do not continue driving if their fitness deteriorates to an unacceptable level during the course of a shift. This could be in the form of a driver health checklist.

Read more in the RIS


Remote zone

Issue:

The HVNL applies a “one size fits all” approach and does not tailor regulation for segments of the industry or types of operators. This is particularly a problem for remote area operators who have unique risk profiles due to the distance, lack of rest areas and facilities, extreme temperatures and limited interaction with other road users.

Option:

5.3 Establish a remote area zone. Read in the RIS.

  • A remote zone could be introduced into the future HVNL to enable a more targeted risk-based approach to regulation specifically for vehicles operating in unique remote areas.This could be used to enable risk based regulatory approaches to be developed in relation to more flexible hours of work and rest for approval by the NHVR for remote areas.

Scope of fatigue provisions

Issue:

  • Fatigue management requirements under the current HVNL only apply to fatigue regulated heavy vehicles (FRHVs). FRHV is defined as a vehicle (or vehicle combination) with a GVM of more than 12 tonnes. These vehicles are primarily focused on long-haul interstate journeys.
  • While work diaries are the primary tool for checking compliance, they are not required for ‘local work’─ that is, vehicles operating within 100 km of their base, implicitly presuming that long-haul operations have a higher fatigue risk. Therefore, the HVNL does not address fatigue risks associated with smaller heavy vehicles or those undertaking localised trips.

Options:

8.3: Widen the scope of fatigue requirements - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- 8.3(a): Target requirements at high-risk category drivers

  • A requirement could apply to drivers that are higher risk of fatigue due to the nature of their work e.g. long hours on task, night driving and inadequate sleep opportunity over an extended period.
  • The HVNL could be amended where certain fatigue management requirements could apply to higher fatigue risk drivers, and anyone who works:
  • The proposed mechanism could verify which drivers the requirements do and do not apply to, however the onus could be on drivers and operators to comply, or show they are not higher risk drivers according to methods suited to their business.
    • More than 60 hours per week
    • More than once per week for more than 10 hours between substantive rests
    • More than once per week between midnight and 5.00am.

- 8.3(b): Widen the scope of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles

  • The vehicles captured in the fatigue requirements could be expanded to:
  • Drivers of any heavy vehicle regulated under the future HVNL could be covered by the fatigue management provisions.
    • All vehicles with GVM greater than 4.5 tonnes
    • All vehicles with GVM greater than 8 tonnes.

- 8.3(c): A combination of specific drivers and specific vehicles

  • An option combining options 8.1(a) and 8.1(b) establishing a concept of ‘fatigue regulated driver’ could be applied to manage fatigue risk.This attaches the fatigue management requirements to the fatigue risk of the driver while minimising the regulatory burden for the lighter end of the heavy vehicle fleet.

Record keeping

Issue:

  • The current HVNL details requirements for obtaining, filling in and carrying a work diary, and there are even more work diary requirements in the regulations.
  • Drivers must also follow very specific instructions for filling in the work diary itself. The complexity of the work and rest requirements also means that the information that drivers need to record is highly detailed. There is a lot of scope for administrative error and often unintentional errors result in disproportionately punitive fines.

Options:

8.4: Reforms to make record-keeping simpler and risk based - read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0

  • A simplified version of the existing national written work diary, or an approved electronic work diary could be developed applying to higher fatigue risk drivers who do not make use of fatigue monitoring technology.This could make the diaries easier to fill in because it is based on simplified work and rest hour and counting time requirements.
  • A detailed policy could be developed on what will and won't be included in the simplified work diary to ensure flexibility to operators own business model.
  • The distinction between local work and 100+km work could be removed under this option, and roadside enforcement could no longer be used for record-keeping offences, however authorised officers could still have the power to ground drivers for a fatigue risk or flag an operator to be audited by the NHVR.

8.5: Mandate electronic records - read in the RIS.

  • Fatigue management could rely more on advance fatigue monitoring technologies.
  • Fatigue-regulated operators and drivers operating under the Tier 1 prescriptive rules could use an Electronic Work Diary (EWD) to record information to demonstrate compliance with the work and rest rules.Operators in Tier 2 may choose to use an EWD as their primary method for demonstrating compliance with work and rest rules, however could still choose alternative records e.g. fatigue monitoring technologies.
  • A requirement could be placed by the NHVR to ensure that any EWD used by an operator could need to be approved as fit for purpose.

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