Work Diaries: Change is nigh

According to NatRoad, the humble work diary is one of the most complained about tools in the regulator’s arsenal; being complicated, time consuming and exposing drivers to large fines for minor administrative errors.

Even police and other authorised officers find them difficult to interpret. However, the transition to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) from mid-2013 brings with it an opportunity to negotiate some much needed improvements.

NatRoad says it has successfully lobbied governments to reduce infringements for minor administrative errors from around $600 to just $150. While drivers would probably like to see these fines reduced further or even abolished entirely, the organisation points out that a 75 percent reduction is a pretty good starting point in the lead-up to a full review of national penalties expected in 2014.

NatRoad recently participated in an industry-government workshop to review and redesign the written work diary (and the accompanying instructions) to reflect the requirements of the HVNL. It says many improvements have been made along the way to improve the layout, reduce duplication of entries and remove any superfluous or non-essential information requirements. The new diaries are expected to be available from mid-2013 to coincide with the commencement of the HVNL.

NatRoad is also involved in an industry reference group for an electronic work diaries (EWD) pilot project. EWDs have many advantages over written work diaries in terms of time spent entering information, accuracy and the ability to enhance safety and business productivity. However, they also come with an upfront cost and potential for overzealous enforcement.

The pilot project is carefully considering these issues as well as technical specifications, operational matters, costs v benefit analysis and regulatory changes that would be necessary to facilitate usage.

For operators interested in the prospect of using EWDs in their businesses, there are two ways they can participate in the pilot. Firstly, NatRoad is seeking information from small to medium operators concerning their current costs relating to the use of written work diaries.

Secondly, the organisation is seeking volunteers to participate in Stage 2 of the pilot. This will involve operators using the latest emerging technology in their vehicles.

For more information, email Mathew Munro at NatRoad (mathew@natroad.com.au)

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