Common-sense needed for minor fatigue management offences

By: Brad Gardner

Government needs to make sure truck drivers are looked after, MP says.

Common-sense needed for minor fatigue management offences
More rest areas with suitable facilities need to be provided for truck drivers, Queensland MP Ian Rickuss says.


Truck drivers need to be given some leeway when it comes to minor fatigue management breaches, according to a Queensland MP who says more must also be done to provide the industry with suitable rest areas.

Queensland MP for the seat of Lockyer Ian Rickuss went into bat for truck drivers during a recent debate on introducing an electronic work diary (EWD).

The devices will be an optional alternative to paper diaries, but there is some concern they will lead to infringements for small breaches.

"Let’s make sure that if they are minor errors that these people are being picked up for, common-sense applies," Rickuss says.

"That is what we want with these laws. A lot of these truck drivers are great truck drivers. They are quite intelligent people but book work is not their forte or working with electronic diaries is not their forte. So a bit of common-sense is needed around those issues."

Rickuss recently raised an issue of a truck driver being penalised for a minor fatigue management error when filling out a paper work diary.

"He filled out the work diary but did not add the total up and he was picked up for that. The [transport] minister is reviewing that at the moment, so I am sure that will be looked at with common-sense," he says.

Rickuss believes more rest areas with facilities like toilets, bins and showers need to be a key part of fatigue management.

"There are thousands of trucks pulled up on the side of the road where it is just a bush toilet. It really is a bit tough on some of them and then we are expecting them to drive these sorts of hours," he says.

"We have to make sure that there are facilities for the trucks and that we look after them. They do carry Australia on their back, as the sticker says."

Queensland last week passed legislation to introduce EWDs.

Transport minister Jackie Trad says the devices will help drivers comply with their fatigue management obligations by informing them when they need to take a rest. She says businesses will benefit from a reduction in the amount of paperwork they need to keep for each driver.

However, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) believes EWDs will not be worth the cost for small trucking firms.

Each diary is tipped to cost $1,200 to purchase, $500 to install and $20 per month in ongoing costs.


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