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.”