Fatigue blitz launched in South Australia

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has today launched a week-long blitz targeting fatigue-related breaches.

The area the blitz will be targeting will be from the Western Australia border to Port Augusta in South Australia.

“The NHVR’s safety and compliance officers will have an increased presence at the WA and SA border, ensuring drivers are maintaining accurate work diaries, which are a critical tool in complying with work and rest requirements,” said NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati.

“Our operations aren’t just about intercepts and enforcement; they are focused on educating drivers on how they can actively manage their fatigue and make sure their movements are safe and efficient.”

Salvati added that officers won’t hesitate to enforce the Heavy Vehicle National Law for those intentionally doing the wrong thing.

“But I encourage any driver with a question regarding their compliance to chat to our on-road officers, who are there to support them where required,” he added.

NHVR officers will also be working with Main Roads WA staff throughout the operation, in a collaborative effort.

According to Salvati, the fatigue blitz is timely, as 35 lives have already been lost in crashes involving a heavy vehicle this year, nine of which happened in SA and WA.

“One life lost on our roads, is one too many,” he said. “We want every road user out there to make it home safely.”

Steve Shearer, executive officer of the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) says he is supportive of roadside fatigue checks. “SARTA and the bulk of the industry fully accept that the NHVR and the police have an important job to do and so long as they do that fairly and reasonably, we have no argument whatsoever,” he said.

“Operators and drivers doing the right thing have nothing to be concerned about. There is no reason or justification for any truck driver or operator doing the Adelaide to Perth run to do it illegally.

“This is a run that is done by a lot of drivers every day of the week who do it perfectly legally. But there are some drivers who don’t behave legally and they compete unfairly in the market with the operators who are complying with the law – and that needs to stop.”

The NHVR has also issued a reminder to drivers on proactive measures they can take to mitigate the impact of fatigue on the road:

  • Ensure you are well-rested before embarking on your journey.
  • Pre-plan your journey, and schedule rest stops.
  • Recognise the signs of fatigue.
  • Take frequent rest and meal breaks, and do not attempt to ‘push through’ until you reach your destination.
  • Be aware of diet and lifestyle choices that could have an impact on fatigue.
  • Ensure you are accurately filling out your work diary.

“We are encouraging all heavy vehicle drivers to recognise the signs of fatigue – even if you are complying with work and rest requirements, you may still feel too tired to drive,” Salvati said.

“Always prioritise your rest beaks – it is just never worth the risk.”

Though Shearer pointed to an issue occurring at the moment, which he says is making some rest areas inaccessible to truck drivers. “The Department of Infrastructure and Transport and their contractors have taken away from us quite a number of our rest areas to stockpile road building materials.

“We would encourage any operator found to be in breach because they weren’t able to get into a rest area because it was filled with building materials, to contact us at SARTA to get advice.”

Shearer continued, “We’ve raised these concerns and while we want the roadworks done, they need to be done in a way that doesn’t make it difficult for truck drivers to comply with fatigue rules.”

The NHVR is also encouraging any drivers who feel pressured by their employer to drive while fatigued to call the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Hotline on 1800 931 785.

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