Minor legislative changes to the hours of work and rest within the Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue reforms may be warranted, according to a discussion paper released for public consultation today by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

The Improving the basic fatigue management option discussion paper, explores whether amendments should be made to the reform requirements for split rests, the 14 day cycle and early starts contained within the Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) option.

Under the fatigue reforms, accredited operators who have undertaken comprehensive fatigue management training and put appropriate risk management systems into place are able to opt to schedule hours of work and rest that allow more flexibility in their work schedule, which potentially introduces increased risk through less restrictions on work hours. This is known as the BFM option.

“Any change to the agreed national heavy vehicle fatigue laws, even a minor change, has the potential to significantly impact road safety for drivers and the community and must therefore be carefully considered.”

“One of the key issues we have been exploring is whether drivers should be allowed to split their seven hour break into two blocks, even if it means the two blocks sum to a period exceeding seven hours.”

Under the current fatigue reforms, a long break of seven hours is required in any 24 hours.

“We have also explored whether a driver should be able to work more than seven days in a row if risk is adequately managed and whether the night rest period for drivers should be adjusted so it does not restrict drivers going to bed early and starting work early on a consistent basis.

Under the fatigue reforms, the BFM option requires a 24 hour rest in seven days and a night rest period of between 10pm to 8am.

Online basic fatigue management courses are readily available and easy to complete.

Courtesy: The Gov Monitor