Victoria Police in time counting warning

Senior officer says truck unit training boosted as national regulations are open to manipulation by drivers

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | September 10, 2013

Victoria Police has questioned the time counting rules under the national heavy vehicle regulations, saying there is room for "manipulation" by drivers.

Speaking at Freight Week event’s safety day last week, Inspector Bernie Rankin says fatigue management rules can be misinterpreted.

"It is actually possible for a heavy vehicle driver to drive for 16 hours and 15 minutes in one day," Rankin says.

"Where I stand, I don’t think that’s a sensible law – the counting time provisions can be manipulated."

He says the police have stepped up its training of the heavy vehicle policing unit and warns that those fatigued will be caught.

"I just want to provide a note of caution; whether you’re anticipating driving the truck for that period of time in one day, at the end of the day you’re still accountable," Rankin says.

"You can be tired and fatigued after two hours on the road and, if we can demonstrate that you’re fatigued … we will prosecute it not under road safety but crime.

"That’s the reality of it – if you’re driving a heavy vehicle, the legislation and the counting time provisions might say you can do this and that but, at the end of the day, you still have a responsibility to other road users.

"We have convicted people who have been on the road for a relatively short period of time in fatigue-related deaths."

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