Electronic diaries may lead to spike in fines

Industry will walk away from electronic work diaires unless regulators rule out targeting minor offences, government department warns

By Brad Gardner | September 3, 2009

Electronic work diaries will struggle to gain industry support unless regulators rule out targeting low level infringements, a government department has warned.

The Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) wants national sanctions policy established for electronic work diary offences over concerns the introduction of the technology will result in a wave of penalties for minor breaches.

The DIER’s manager of vehicle operations, John Bessell, says electronic monitoring is capable of detecting a truck travelling 1km over the speed limit, meaning drivers may be slugged with fines on a regular basis.

Writing to the National Transport Commission, the department’s secretary, Norm McIlfatrick, claims a uniform scheme will ensure jurisdictions adopt a similar approach in managing the issue, in turn encouraging industry involvement.

The NTC has proposed introducing voluntary electronic reporting to give trucking companies an alternative to the paper-based method.

While supporting the NTC’s proposal, Bessell says regulators must strike a balance on compliance.

"Low level breaches could come up on a regular basis," he says.

"At what point do you say that it [the incident] constitutes a serious breach?"

Although it listed the compulsory introduction of electronic monitoring for the nation’s transport ministers to consider, the NTC’s preferred option is to offer a choice between the different reporting methods.

McIlfatrick says governments should not replace the current work diary until issues such as sanctions are resolved.

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