14 June 2023
Driver convicted and fined over extreme fatigue breach
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has prosecuted a driver in Goulburn, New South Wales for working 19.5 hours in a 24-hour period. The driver was convicted and fined with two critical risk breaches under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
In January of this year, an inspection was carried out at an NHVR Heavy Vehicle Safety Station by Safety and Compliance Officers who identified the breaches after checking the driver’s National Driver Work Diary.
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.
NHVR Director Prosecutions Belinda Hughes said it’s 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,” said Ms Hughes.
“The magistrate noted the seriousness of this offence, acknowledging the risk that working these types of hours poses to the person and public safety.”
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 that 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 Mr Patterson.
The NHVR has a variety of tools and guides on our website to assist operators and drivers in understanding their obligations under the HVNL and to operate safely.
For more information about standard hours, break requirements or fatigue management, visit www.nhvr.gov.au/work-and-rest
(Information supplied by NHVR – On the Road Issue 165)