Working to get drivers home
THE national heavy vehicle regulator is one step closer to being implemented after a public hearing on the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill recommended the bill be passed.
At the hearing on August 3, Member for Warrego Howard Hobbs, chair of the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee, said current fatigue laws were not flexible enough, especially when it came to getting home after a shift.
"They really need a better arrangement where, even if they were doing an 84-hour period, they could have longer time off, but they just have to be able to get home," he said.
"They cannot even move... They have to have that break and they cannot even get to town. Is there some sort of a move to resolving that issue?" he asked NHVR project director Richard Hancock.
Mr Hancock said the regulator was looking into circumstances where a truck driver was, say, 10 minutes from home but had to stop "on the side of the road in some cases".
"If you wait three hours at a depot, it is treated as work. You can only drive for another two, depending on what arrangement you are in, and the industry is very keen to see what we can do to assist those sorts of situations."
Mr Hancock said he believed the work the regulator was doing revising advanced fatigue management would deal with the issue.
But the waters are still muddy on whether heavy vehicle charges would increase to fund the regulator.
"We are endeavouring to create the national heavy vehicle regulator within the pool of funding that is currently in existence," he said.
The full report on the hearing is available online at parliament.qld.gov.au. Search NHVR.
NatRoad and the Regulator
AT THE recent National Road Transport Operators Association Conference Angus Draheim (assistant project director, NHVR project office) told delegates the NHVR would be a one-stop shop.
He said the regulator would be in charge of PBS, but he didn't expect registration to change until it could be done at the "right cost". "We're working towards a national plate," he said. At the conference, delegates heard the regulator was looking at reducing fines for minor log book offences down from $600 to about $100.