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.
“We do not support the NHVR’s draft EWD policy framework and standards, because the standards don’t meet the needs of the industry and they focus more on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes,” said Melissa Weller, ATA Safety and Skills Adviser. “The current NHVR draft policy and standards offer insufficient tolerances and no flexibility, leaving drivers exposed to prosecution for inconsequential technical breaches that will have no impact on safety.
“The ATA believes the primary aim of EWDs must be to increase industry safety through better fatigue management by aiding drivers in achieving compliance – not to increase enforcement opportunities.”
The ATA submission on the draft EWD policy framework and standards recommends the NHVR should not proceed with the rollout of voluntary EWDs until:
- the fatigue regulations have been amended to include realistic EWD tolerances,
- further action is taken to increase the quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas,
- the standards are amended so that EWDs do not provide a 28 day list of minor breaches to enforcement officers.
- a statement has been issued by the NHVR clarifying the meaning of ‘voluntary’ EWD with specific reference to NHVAS, PBS, notice and permit conditions.
“Technology could play a huge role in guiding and improving business and driver behaviour around fatigue management, but the current system doesn’t include what is known about the science of sleep,” said Ben Maguire, ATA CEO. “The conversation about fatigue must change. Drivers are individuals and fatigue is a biological state. Not everybody functions the same way or has the same health status. Prescribing the exact hours and minutes is no longer showing results.”
The ATA points out it has initiated a driver fatigue management hackathon, to be held at Trucking Australia in April 2018. This is an opportunity for developers to challenge thinking about driver fatigue management and investigate innovative ideas that can advance the industry and save lives. Trucking Australia delegates will be able to question the developers, apply their practical expertise and select the best idea to take forward.