Fatigue management, News

Work diary penalties too high, says peak trucking body

Australia’s transport ministers should, if necessary, extend the length of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review so it can deal properly with the unfair penalties for truck driver work diary offences, said Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO Mathew Munro.

Munro said the maximum penalties for work and rest hour and record keeping offences were too high, particularly since work diaries were so complicated.

“The NTC needs to run a formal review process to set much fairer penalties for drivers. The existing penalties, and the penalties matrix published in 2015, are not fit for purpose,” Munro said.

“We are told that maximum penalties need to be high enough to deal with worst case offences, but those offences should now be prosecuted under the primary safety duty or driving while fatigued provisions of the law.”

Munro said the ATA was developing its response to the National Transport Commission’s consultation statement on fatigue management, access and operator assurance.

“Our members met yesterday [November 2] to consider a package of enforcement measures. They agreed it must include a reduction in work diary penalties to fair and just levels,” he said.

The ATA has been openly critical of the NTC’s handlng of the HVNL review, at one point calling it a circus and asking that the commission be abolished.

The association also put forward an alternative to the national law in the form of the Road Transport Act, a simplified version of the HVNL that did away with the need for work diaries altogether.

To make a submission to the NTC on the latest policy areas up for discussion click here. The deadline is November 24.

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