Allowable work hours failures reported during fatigue blitz: NHVR

A driver takes a rest break from driving his truck.

A four-week initiative to combat heavy vehicle driver fatigue during the holiday season has brought a spotlight to maintaining accurate work diaries.

Over 200 heavy vehicles were issued notices for breaches.

Operation Forager has, despite this, been deemed a success by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) who announced its conclusion today.

Having commenced 20 November 2023 as a collaboration between the NHVR and police nationwide, Operation Forager was conducted to heighten awareness about the critical nature of managing fatigue while driving heavy vehicles.

The national operation is considered another step forward in the NHVR’s ongoing commitment to enhancing road safety and ensuring the well-being of both heavy vehicle drivers and the wider community.

NHVR Chief Operations Officer Paul Salvati said over the course of the month-long operation, NHVR officers conducted more than 5,350 heavy vehicle intercepts across the Southern and Central Regions.

“Work diary and fatigue-related education was provided in 623 of these intercepts, accounting for approximately 156 hours of roadside education with drivers, highlighting the NHVR’s commitment to safety within the heavy vehicle industry,” Salvati said.

“Operation Forager shows the effectiveness of our holistic approach to safety, that combines education with enforcement, ensuring that heavy vehicle operators are not only aware of the regulations but also equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions on the road about their safety.

“I would like to commend the heavy vehicle industry for their safety efforts over the busy holiday period, particularly during the severe weather events we experienced across the country.”

Salvati said Operation Forager placed a strong emphasis on the importance of maintaining accurate work diaries, as a critical tool in complying with work and rest hour requirements and preventing fatigue-related incidents.

“By investing significant time and effort in educating heavy vehicle drivers on work diaries and fatigue, especially new drivers, we aim to create a lasting impact that extends beyond the duration of this operation,” said Salvati.

“Education is an investment in safety. By ensuring drivers understand the importance of accurate work diaries, we are arming them with the knowledge to actively manage their work and rest hours.”

Salvati, however, said while education is a powerful tool in preventing fatigue-related incidents, the NHVR doesn’t hesitate to enforce the Heavy Vehicle National Law where required.

“Of the total intercepts conducted by NHVR officers, 207 resulted in fatigue-related compliance action,” he said.

“Unfortunately, 129 of these offences were detected for driver’s exceeding their allowable work hours, or not taking adequate periods of rest.

“We want to remind heavy vehicle drivers of the critical importance of practicing safe behaviours, including taking rest and meal breaks.

“If you are on the road and feel the five signs of fatigue – inattention, irregular body movements, erratic vehicle movements, dull sensory alertness, or poor concentration – please, take a break.”

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