The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association has said it will support EWDs, with reservations as it currently stands. The ALRTA has announced its National Council has resolved to support the roll out of voluntary electronic work diaries (EWD). Read more
The question many truck owners and truck drivers are asking themselves is, are you going to use an EWD? Electronic Work Diaries are about to become a reality as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator releases the draft Electronic Work Diary (EWD) Compliance Policy ensuring that heavy vehicle drivers using either electronic or written work diaries are treated the same. Read more
In a show of resistance to EWDs, and in its submission to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Australian Trucking Association says it does not support the rollout of voluntary electronic work diaries as proposed. Read more
The latest move by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator mean EWDs are coming. The minimum performance based standards for an Electronic Work Diary which the NHVR will pass as compliant have been released. Read more
In Diesel News this week, read about the NHVR Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has commissioned an independent review into heavy-vehicle accreditation schemes to support improved road safety.
“Heavy-vehicle accreditation schemes have proven benefits for road safety across a number of heavy-vehicle sectors, including trucks, cranes and buses,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “The national roadworthiness survey released earlier this year showed major non-conformities for vehicles in accreditation schemes dropped from 13 per cent to nine per cent. Read more
The Australian trucking industry needs someone to solve the EWD riddle. Every time a trucking operator wants to get over yet another regulatory hurdle, they have to put another black box in the cabin.
In many ways this has been a useful development for the trucking industry, with a large number of companies developing black boxes to fit in to truck cabins, customised to the needs of the particular application. These electronics suppliers are flexible and able to adapt their systems to the exact needs of the operation and pull down the data the business needs to be safe and productive.
Most of the kinds of tasks these black boxes are expected to complete have a direct bearing on the productivity of the particular job, like IAP, reviewing driver performance or keeping operations in the loop. However, when it comes to the proposed Electric Work Diary system, this is going to have little effect on productivity.
Trucking operators may to be expected to fit yet another black box – at considerable expense – into the truck. This is going to add nothing to the business’ bottom line and, if they are a good operator now, nothing to their compliance performance. It will just be an imposition on the business with no quantifiable gain for the expense of introducing yet another box into the cabin.
Of course, it is very understandable – the authorities want any EWD system to be secure and are right to expect it to be so. The question has to be one which came up in several chats I had with people at the Brisbane Truck Show last week – does it have to be another expensive black box?
Surely, just about every truck driver in Australia has a smartphone in their pocket, or sitting on the dash. Why can’t we record our hours and prove our compliance to fatigue rules with an app? It is a regulatory requirement, but we need to keep it simple, stupid.
It looks like the powers that be will be making it possible for the supplier of your current black box to be able to include an EWD in the hardware, but this will be incumbent on whether the box includes security measures to satisfy the regulators. Simply tagging on will not be sufficient, even a smart-chipped driving licence can be passed from driver to driver.
Last week I was looking at a smartphone-based telematics system which has integrated facial recognition and thumbprints into the logging on procedure. If a small player in the global electronics game can come up with a solution which is accessible to everyone, surely a first world government agency can get it together.
The bill introducing electronic work diaries has passed through the Queensland Parliament, on its way to becoming part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. During the proceedings, Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, confirmed EWD use will be on a voluntary basis only. She made the statement in her second reading comments on the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015.
“I must stress that the adoption of electronic work diaries is voluntary,” said Trad. “It provides operators in the industry with a choice to either adopt this emerging technology or continue, as they currently do, with the paper based system.
“This is about providing flexibility for the industry to choose the approach that fits best and recognises that there can be significant differences from one road transport operator to another.”
The Australian Trucking Association welcomed Trad’s comments, after it had called for the use of EWD technology to remain on a voluntary basis.
“Although electronic work diaries offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators and businesses that only operate heavy vehicles occasionally,” said Christopher Melham ATA CEO.
Melham said the risk of facing a stricter EWD regulatory regime could also deter some operators from swapping over their paper work diaries, despite the potential reduction in red tape.
“The Heavy Vehicle National Law requires drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles to fill out work diaries to record their work and rest hours,” said Melham. “The time periods in the existing paper work diaries are recorded in 15 minute blocks, and are hand-written by the driver.
“The electronic diaries approved under this Bill automatically round to the nearest one minute interval, with a tolerance for small work time breaches of eight minutes in a 24 hour period. There is no tolerance for errors in rest times.
“I welcome the NTC’s commitment to review the treatment of small work time breaches after two years. This review is essential in order to make sure that EWD users are not subject to a stricter regulatory regime than those who use the paper diaries.”
The current bill introducing electronic work diaries does not properly consider issues with how small breaches of the work and rest rules would be treated. Chris Melham, Australian Trucking Association CEO has stated the time tolerances used in planned EWD should be reviewed after two years.
This review is one of the recommendations in the ATA’s submission to the Queensland Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee enquiry into the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015, the bill which will enable EWDs under the regulations.
“At present, the Heavy Vehicle National Law requires drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles to fill out written work diaries to record their work and rest hours,” said Melham. “The time periods in these written work diaries are required to be rounded to the nearest 15 minutes, and are hand-written by the driver.
“The electronic diaries that would be approved under this bill would replace the need for written work diaries, potentially offering a considerable reduction in the red tape burden faced by operators and drivers. These systems would automatically round to the nearest one minute interval, with a maximum work time tolerance of eight minutes in a 24 hour period. There would be no tolerance for errors in rest times.
“The ATA believes these differences in the legislated work and rest limit tolerances would create a two-tiered regulatory system, with EWD users facing a significantly tighter regulatory regime than those using written work diaries. As a result, we expect that many operators and drivers would decide to continue using the written diaries, despite potential red tape savings.
“Ideally, the bill and the Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation should be amended immediately to address the industry’s concerns. Alternatively, the NTC’s recommended two-year review of the tolerances should be locked in to the NTC work program and NHVR corporate plans now.”
The submission by the ATA uses a real-world work example to demonstrate the differences in the diary systems. In this example, a driver takes an early rest break to have a nap, but rests for 29 minutes, rather than thirty minutes. This minor error would disappear in a written work diary, as the driver would inevitably round the break up to half an hour. However, an EWD would record every minute of discrepancy. The driver would be exposed to a maximum penalty of $4,100 unless an extra 15 minute work break was taken. The submission also reiterates the ATA’s call for electronic work diary use to be on a voluntary basis only.
“Although EWDs could offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators or those who don’t currently fall under work diary requirements,” said Melham. “In the ATA’s view, the only situation where EWDs should be mandatory is where a court orders an operator to install them after convicting the operator of an offence.”
Regulations need to strike a balance between privacy and compliance and enforcement to encourage industry take-up of Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs), says the National Transport Commission (NTC) in a report released for public consultation this week.
The NTC’s Preparing Australia for Electronic Work Diaries Regulatory Issues Paper was developed as a part of an Operational Pilot of Electronic Work Diaries conducted for Transport for NSW by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and Transport Certification Australia (TCA).
The pilot operated from 2011 until 2013, to work through operational issues with the technology and develop an approved technical specification.
NTC Chief Executive Paul Retter AM said the NTC’s issues paper examines the regulatory changes required to prepare Australia for the introduction of the technology.
“The widespread, voluntary uptake of Electronic Work Diaries has the capacity to significantly improve road safety, as they can help drivers and operators proactively manage their fatigue obligations in real-time, and additionally help operators to improve operational efficiencies,” said Mr Retter.
“These systems also offer the potential to transform enforcement practices by providing more accurate, current and accessible information.
“However, given that the use of Electronic Work Diaries will be a voluntary alternative for industry, it is critical to ensure regulations provide drivers with confidence that their personal information will be used appropriately. Otherwise we won’t be able to realise the potential safety and productivity benefits of this technology.”
An Electronic Work Diary is a system that can record work and rest times for heavy vehicle drivers, as an alternative to the paper-based diary which is currently used to meet fatigue management obligations.
The NTC is currently calling for public submissions on a range of proposed recommendations presented in the paper, including:
- Updates to several provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law to remove ambiguity and to align with the technical and policy outcomes of the recent EWD Pilot
- A ‘privacy by design’ approach when developing the EWD system, which would ensure that privacy protections are integrated into the system, rather than mitigated after the design is finalised
- Addressing compliance and enforcement issues resulting from the transition from paper to electronic work diaries.
“We are interested to hear from operators, drivers, and the wider community on their views on these recommendations and any other issues which they feel need to be addressed to support the voluntary take-up of electronic record keeping,” said Mr Retter.
The NTC report has been released in conjunction with a report on the outcomes of the Operational Pilot of EWDs released by the Transport for NSW, and draft EWD functional and technical specification released by TCA. The NTC’s report should be read in conjunction with these reports.
Following public consultation, the NTC will present final recommendations to the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure for approval.
Mick Baker runs a small fleet of trucks out of small base in Dalby, 200km west of Brisbane, on the Darling Downs and insists on running the trucks right. Still driving himself, Mick comes from a farming background. His father grew up on the farm and has a farm with a couple of trucks. He spent his youth driving a Mack R600 around the paddock. Read more
One of the biggest challenges facing smaller trucking operators is keeping compliance simple. Diesel News meets a Queensland operator who seems to have found an electronic fix to auditable compliance that doesn’t involve reams of paper or a selection of black boxes in the cabin.
“At the time, all I wanted to do was have my own overnight run,” says Tim Sullivan of Sullivans Logistics. “Who the hell would want to drive a truck overnight? Well, bugalugs did. I bought a UD PK240 and put a curtainsider body on it to haul the mail to Kalgoorlie.
In a pre-Los Angeles Auto Show reveal, an under-the-radar startup held an all electric full-size ute launch. The vehicle released may prove to be the first all-electric ute to compete with conventional, personal-use full-size utes to hit the US market.
The key to growing a trucking business is keeping your options open, being as flexible as possible and doing the job right and this is true when running express, out West. Diesel News speaks to a Perth-based operator who seems to have hit the right note with customers, learning the lessons from problems early on.
One of the results of the kinds of accreditation and qualification for drivers is something which is beginning to look like driver information overload. With the increase in permits, documentation and covering letters which have to accompany some types of truck, some classes of freight and exceptions to the normal road rules, all of this information can end up as a bewildering collection of paperwork. Some follows the driver, some the truck and some the freight. In the cramped conditions in a truck cabin paperwork is easily misplaced.
The advent of Verizon on the horizon means there is a new player in the telematics space, but it is actually three old faces, with Verizon Connect coming together from three separate entities. Diesel News talks to the new boss of the new entity, Jim McKinlay.
As part of its worldwide strategy Mercedes Benz could introduce drones, a new Sprinter and PRO on a Global Scale. Nearly two years ago the company came out with its Sprinter-based concept ‘last-mile’ delivery van that featured a pair of drones that would deliver to retail customers. That concept involved customer lock-boxes to keep shipments safe until collected by the recipients.
This week saw the beginning of the process to approve EWDs, but the question should be asked, are electronic work diaries worth it? Is there a sound reason for bringing them into the already complicated regulatory environment at a time when there a lot of other changes happening in this area? Read more
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is introducing Electronic Work Diaries as a voluntary alternative to the current paper management system, the ‘MyBuddy’ Release from MyFleet suggests the company is well prepared. Read more
Fatigue is an ever-present challenge for the transport industry. Long hours on the road can impair judgement and slow reaction times, putting your drivers and the community at risk. Transport for NSW says fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal while the Transport Accident Commission shows drivers that are awake longer than 24 hours’ drive like someone with a blood alcohol limit twice the legal amount.