Driver convicted and fined $20k over ‘extreme fatigue breaches’

A truckie has been convicted and fined with two critical risk breaches under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), for working 19.5 hours in a 24-hour period.

The case was heard at the Goulburn Local Court on May 5, with the court finding the driver guilty of both charges. The driver was fined $10,000 for each charge and another $102 filing fee for each charge, at a total cost of $20,204.

The driver was prosecuted following an inspection in January, where a heavy vehicle was intercepted on the Hume Highway at Marulan by NHVR authorised officers, who checked the driver’s work diary.

The officers identified two breaches within a 24-hour period.

The NHVR reports that the driver’s longest rest break during the 24-hour period was only one hour and 30 minutes. “Solo drivers can work a maximum of 12 hours within a 24-hour period, with seven continuous hours of stationary rest time,” the regulator said.

NHVR director prosecutions, Belinda Hughes, said it was alarming to see such long hours worked. “Fatigue is an issue we are seeing having a big impact on drivers, resulting in serious injuries or death. Take your rest breaks – it’s just not worth the risk,” she said.

“The magistrate noted the seriousness of this offence, acknowledging the risk that working these types of hours poses to the person and public safety.”

The NHVR added that in addition to the general duty to not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while fatigued, drivers must comply with work and rest limits.

NHVR director operations Central Region, Brett Patterson, said standard hours apply to all drivers who do not operate under fatigue management accreditation.

“Operators who enrol in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme have a greater say in when drivers can work and rest, as long as the risks of driver fatigue are properly managed,” said Patterson.

This news comes as the NHVR undertakes a blitz this week that follows over 120 penalty infringements being issued in the past few months to truck drivers at the Marulan Heavy Vehicle Safety Station in NSW for not carrying their work diary.

More information about standard hours, break requirements or fatigue management, can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend