ATA won't step in on fatigue management case


ATA says it cannot financially support the legal fees of a truck driver caught out by inconsistent fatigue laws

By Brad Gardner | July 1, 2010

A truck driver caught out by inconsistent fatigue management laws will not receive financial backing from the peak industry group for his legal fees.

Despite raising concerns about the issue, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has declined to involve itself in the case which is due to be heard this month.

The driver of a well-known Queensland company that requested anonymity was charged with seven fatigue breaches in Victoria. He was compliant in NSW and Queensland but was caught out in Victoria because it counts work and rest time differently.

"The ATA does not have a budget to support this type of assistance," ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says.

He says the ATA and its member associations are working with the National Transport Commission to resolve the cross-border inconsistencies.

The Queensland Trucking Association CEO, Peter Garske, says the group will help where it can.

"We’re certainly going to try and assist the driver and company," he says.

"Personally I was disappointed the ATA board of management had declined to involve itself."

St Clair says no trucking company has approached the ATA’s general council for assistance. The council is the policy-making body of the ATA and is made up of representatives from other industry associations.

The compliance officer of the trucking company, which is a member of the QTA, says the driver will lose his licence if he is found guilty.

"I just feel for our driver. We want to help but financially it is crippling," the compliance officer says.

The ATA raised concerns with the NTC in April this year and called for a meeting to end inconsistencies so operators can meet their fatigue management obligations.

A spokesman for the NTC says the group is committed to national laws and shares the ATA’s request for common counting rules.

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