Fatigue management, Fitness, Mental, News, Physical, Truckies’ health and wellbeing

‘We don’t value infringements, we value safety,’ says NHVR


This month’s joint fatigue management operation with police shouldn’t be construed as a ‘blitz’ and truckies should not feel like they are being unfairly targeted, says NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati.

Salvati said the main purpose of Operation Forager is to raise awareness about the importance of managing fatigue, looking after yourself and making sure employers aren’t forcing drivers to do more hours than they should at the busiest time of the year for many truckies.

He was also quick to allay fears among some drivers that the operation that is running up to Christmas across across NSW, Queensland, Victoria, SA, ACT and Tasmania, is all about “revenue raising”.

“That not how we operate. Almost none of the revenue from infringements comes to us,” Salvati stressed.

“The only benefit we get is if we can change someone’s behaviour, we don’t set targets, we never do.

“The whole role of this operation, as we communicated to our staff, is about educating drivers and reminding drivers about the importance over this period of time to make sure that you’re managing your fatigue.”

To stress that point, Salvati said that in the last 12 months the NHVR had done over 2100 hours of roadside education on fatigue and work diaries.

“Each of those educations is between five and 10 minutes and every single one of those was because someone either didn’t fill out the work diary properly was doing something wrong.

“If we’re about revenue raising that 2100 hours would be like 10,000 infringements. That’s just not what we’re about.”

Salvati said most of the NHVR’s messaging in the media over the last 12 months is also not pointing fingers at truckies, instead focused on helping light vehicle drivers drive more safely around trucks, via campaigns such as ‘Don’t #uck with a Truck’ for younger drivers and ‘We All Need Space’.

“While people may have looked at this as pointing the finger at truckies, our track record pretty much does the opposite. It shows how we’re saying everyone on the road has to make sure the roads are safe. I think there’s some creative license in calling it a blitz. We’ve never called it a blitz and we’re not expecting an increase in revenue.

“But what we are expecting is a heck of a lot of conversations and education with drivers about managing fatigue. I’ve been on road a couple of days with staff and I’ve seen these conversations happen where people have had issues with the work diary and our staff are taking the time to work through how to do it properly.”

Salvati concedes that if staff do see a “serious enough issue” they can issue an infringement; it all comes down to what the “safety issue” is that they’re seeing and the pattern of behaviour of the driver.

“But our focus really is around raising awareness and education.”

Salvati also admits the question posed by one Big Rigs online reader around whether fines “fix the accident” is a good one.

“My answer is that it depends. At its face value, a fine is a deterrent for repeating the same behavior and works for some people.

“A fine, really, for us reflects the level of safety risk to the driver and other road users. Does it change behaviour? It depends on the individual. For some individuals, education is what they need because they don’t know how to do it properly; they don’t know how to manage fatigue.

“Others are intentionally breaching road rules and breaching the fatigue rules; a fine might be what is needed to change their behaviour.”

Salvati said the interactions with truckies he’d been part of during the early days of the operation had been “really positive”.

He cites the example of a rookie driver who had just bought a truck but she had six different “issues” with her work diary.

“Our staff then spent time walking her through how to do it properly. She was keeping the yellow copies in the glove box of her truck.

“There were a lot of things she was doing wrong. We did some education with that driver, gave her links to our YouTube videos and sent her on her way. The driver knew enough to know she needed a work diary but had no idea how to fill it out, so that was an incredibly positive interaction and to me that is exactly what this operation is all about.”

Salvati’s other message to drivers during Operation Forager is the importance of calling the NHVR’s confidential reporting hotline (1800 931785) if they are feeling pressured by their employer to drive when they are tired.

“We’d love to see not a single driver lose their life on the road. That’s our goal, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve through campaigns and operations like this one.

“We’re there to keep people safe. We don’t value infringements; we value safety and everything we do is around trying to keep people safe.”

Salvati believes that overall the industry is improving on the score of fatigue management with issues dropping almost every year.

“By and large, industry is on the right truck and should be credited.”

He promised to release the results of Operation Forager to Big Rigs early in the new year.


  1. Mr Salvati tells a good story but he might want to read the story I sent in where a Hiway patrol copper couldn’t find anything wrong with the truck h we’d pulled over and then went back through 80 pages of the driver’s work diary only to find one 15 minute problem in the whole 80 days of driving which constituted over 5 months of work. Instead of praising this driver for such a good effort and perhaps just give him a warning to be careful, he walks up to the driver and gives him the work diary back and then commends him on how good a job he has done in keeping his book neat and tidy and easy to read and then hands him a $500 plus fine.
    Perhaps Mr Salvati should include the coppers in his on the road training blitz and ask them if they are so perfect that they can attest to that kind of perfection over a 5 month period. You would have to excuse me for failing to believe anyone is close to being that good. The so called enforcers firstly need to become educated before they are released on to the public domain. All his action did was to create animosity toward the highway patrol because nobody can, is or will be perfect 100% of the time.

  2. I was sent two infringement notices from the NHVR for false or misleading information in work diary, the amount of the infringement notices was a staggering
    $11,500 each
    I provided all the evidence that I wasn’t driving for that company at the time, their prosecutor said make this easier on yourself and just plead guilty.
    Long story short even with the evidence proving my innocence I was fined $9,500 plus costs so excuse me if I call BS to education it’s all about revenue collection

  3. Mr Salvati might want to get out on the road with the enforcement officers a bit more often if he doesn’t think they value infringements. Its the only thing they are looking for. A lot of them don’t properly know the rules themselves.
    Truck drivers are easy game. Log books are a ridiculous and useless way of managing fatigue but they are extremely good at raising money from fines.

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