Drivers and operators have been looking for some regulatory common sense for a long time, but two initiatives this week create sensible solutions to long-term issues. One regards personal use allowances in the log book and the other reduces the requirement to do needless animal transfers on the road.
On the personal use front the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has approved a user-friendly exemption to allow drivers additional time for personal use. This Personal Use Exemption will allow drivers more flexibility with up to one hour of personal use of a heavy vehicle outside their regulated driving hours, from February 1, 2018.
This exemption only applies to drivers working under the standard hours regime. Those in the fatigue management schemes already have some built in allowances, according to the NHVR.
“We undertook extensive consultation with the heavy vehicle industry last September and October on a proposal to allow personal use of a heavy vehicle,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “This allows us to expand on a similar scheme which currently exists in NSW to Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
The exemption must be used for private or non-commercial activities, such as reaching suitable sleeping accommodation and restocking supplies for a trip. Permitted personal activities would include, stowing or retrieving personal effects, cleaning a heavy vehicle, refuelling or attending to personal matters.
The NHVR says it received 60 submissions during the month-long consultation process, with more than 90 per cent supporting the more flexible arrangements. For more information on the Personal Use Exemption visit the NHVR website.
More Common Sense
More common sense prevailed in South Australia, where the authorities will now allow 27.5 metre livestock B-doubles to travel from the Western Australia border to Dublin in SA, via the Eyre Highway, Victoria Parade (Port Augusta), Augusta Highway, Port Wakefield Highway and Carslake Road in Dublin.
Livestock and Rural Transporters Association SA President David Smith said the end of cross loading at the border could save up to three hours.
“This was something we were keen to see happen, particularly due to the benefits it brings for animal welfare,” said Smith. “I’ve done the trip myself to cross load and it’s a difficult situation, transferring livestock alongside the highway.”
Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA President Stephen Marley welcomed the change for operators carrying livestock or fodder relating to livestock.
“This amendment gives transporters the opportunity to organise their cross-border trips differently by taking advantage of the flexibility being offered,” said Marley. “This is a good example of jurisdictions working together to achieve positive results for industry.”
Previously B-double livestock carriers could only operate 26-metre vehicles under the Livestock Carrier Notice in South Australia which required cross loading of up to 650 head of sheep per truck on the SA-WA border.