Electronic work diaries good for truck drivers: Queensland transport minister

By: Brad Gardner


Transport minister says the technology is not intended to be a ‘big brother’ type tool.

Electronic work diaries good for truck drivers: Queensland transport minister
Truck drivers will benefit from using electronic work diaries, Jackie Trad says.

 

Electronic work diaries (EWD) have the potential to deliver significant safety improvements for the trucking indsutry and reduce the paperwork burden on drivers and operators, according to the Queensland Government.

Queensland transport minister Jackie Trad has sought to sell the benefits of the devices, which will be introduced as a voluntary alternative to paper work diaries.

The Queensland Government this week passed legislation to enable the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to approve EWDs for those who choose to use them.

EWDs can record work and rest time to the second, providing highly accurate records of compliance with fatigue management compared to paper diaries.

"Electronic work diaries present a real opportunity to improve safety within the heavy vehicle industry by providing drivers and operators with real-time information that can be used to more effectively manage driver fatigue," Trad says.

"Drivers will benefit from a system that will alert them when a required rest break is approaching. It will also be of particular benefit to the many drivers who struggle with the complex requirements of recording and calculating their work and rest times in a written work diary."

"Employers will also benefit from no longer being required to keep onerous paper based record-keeping systems for each of their drivers. Instead, electronic records can be kept and produced if and when required," she says.

 

An electronic work diary is expected to cost $1,200 to buy, $500 to install and then $20 per month in ongoing costs.

Posted by Owner Driver on Thursday, 17 September 2015

 

Queensland is the first jurisdiction to introduce legislation permitting the use of EWDs. Other jurisdictions that recognise the NHVR – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory – will soon follow Queensland’s lead to ensure cross-border consistency.

While championing the benefits of EWDs, Trad has also sought to dispel potential industry concerns about the technology.

"I know that there are also concerns among some in the industry about the potential for ‘big brother’ type of monitoring of their operations to occur with electronic work diaries. I would like to take this opportunity to again assure the industry that this is not the intention," she says.

The introduction of EWDs will coincide with hefty financial penalties for those who misuse information collected.

"It establishes significant offences for anyone found to be inappropriately using information collected by electronic work diaries for any purpose other than fatigue related compliance function under the law without a warrant," Trad says.

"The maximum penalties for electronic work diary protected information offences are $20,000."

A pilot study of EWDs found the devices would cost $1,200 each, $500 to install and then ongoing costs of $20 per month per unit.

The peak industry group, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), supports EWDs but has raised concerns the devices could lead to drivers being fined for minor fatigue management breaches.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook