We'll deal on fatigue in return for e-diaries: RTA

<font color=red><b>FATIGUE DEBATE:</b></font> RTA prepared to review fatigue management provisions if electronic work diaries introduced

We'll deal on fatigue in return for e-diaries: RTA
We'll negotiate on fatigue in return for EWDs, RTA says
By Brad Gardner | September 30, 2009

The New South Wales roads department is willing to amend fatigue management provisions if electronic work diaries are introduced.

A spokesman for the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) says the method used to calculate work and rest time is not suitable for electronic monitoring.

Currently, a driver must count upwards in 15 minutes blocks for work time and downwards for rest time.

It means if someone works for five hours and one minute it will count as five hours and 15 minutes, whereas if someone rests for 14 minutes and 50 seconds it will be counted as no rest being taken.

Because electronic work diaries are accurate to within a second, drivers may potentially be penalised for trivial work or rest breaches, which the RTA spokesman says is not what the department wants.

"The 15 minute counting rule needs to be changed," the spokesman says.

"If we are going to have electronic work diaries get rid of the 15 minute work rule."

Although the department did not explicitly call for changes to the provision in its submission to a policy proposal on electronic diaries, the spokesman says changing the way rest and work time is counted will reflect the accuracy of electronic reporting.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has proposed the introduction of a voluntary scheme to give trucking operators and drivers an alternative to paper work diaries.

It has recommended companies already using in-house monitoring technology be allowed to continue using it.

The RTA, however, claims current systems are not tamper-proof and has called for IAP to be used.

It says operators with existing technology should be given time to install the monitoring tool, which is currently used in NSW and Queensland for higher mass limits access.

Truck driver and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has opposed electronic diaries, claiming they will usher in an unprecedented level of scrutiny which will force many drivers to leave the industry.

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