Fatigue ‘counting time’ change applauded by VTA

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced its support for the changes to Victoria’s heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws to align “counting time” regulations with Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

This came after the announcement by Victoria’s Roads Minister, Hon. Terry Mulder MP, that the Victorian Road Safety Drivers Regulations 2009 had been amended to deliver a more consistent national approach to heavy vehicle driver fatigue management enforcement.

“We have had a number of drivers from VTA member companies caught out by the differing rules on counting work time which have existed between NSW and Queensland on the one hand, and SA and Victoria on the other since the new fatigue laws were introduced in 2008. We are glad that this amendment will help to remove this confusion for drivers,” said VTA CEO, Philip Lovel AM.

The amended counting time regulations in Victoria, which commenced on Tuesday, 8 November now state that when one or more major rest breaks are relevant in the period being counted, time must be counted forward from the end of the relevant major rest break. In any other case, time must be counted forward from the end of a relevant period of rest time.

South Australia announced the same counting time regulation amendments to take effect from 10 November 2011.

“The VTA is now liaising with VicRoads and Victoria Police to encourage consistency in enforcement practices in Victoria in line with the amended regulation,” said Mr Lovel.

“We think it’s a good opportunity for industry and the enforcement authorities to reappraise drivers and transport operators of their heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws obligations. We also believe that it would be useful for drivers and schedulers to be given the opportunity to undertake Work Diary completion refresher training.”

“The VTA is in the process of rolling out refresher training opportunities for heavy vehicle drivers, and we are asking VicRoads and Victoria Police to join us in undertaking several awareness seminars for industry in Victorian regional and metropolitan locations.

He concluded, “Let’s turn this regulatory change into a positive way to enhance on-road safety and legislative compliance.”

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