Industry calls for realistic EWD standards


Drivers exposed to prosecution for ‘inconsequential’ breaches under NHVR’s draft policy framework

Industry calls for realistic EWD standards
The EWD proposal needs more flexibility, the ATA says

 

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) will not support the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR's) draft standards for voluntary electronic work diaries (EWDs) until their fatigue regulations become more realistic.

ATA safety and skills adviser Melissa Weller says the NHVR’s draft policy framework and standards for the EWDs, developed to monitor driver movements, were more focused on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes.

In its submission to the NHVR, the ATA insists any rollout of voluntary EWDs should not proceed until fatigue regulations had been amended to allow for realistic tolerances, such as human error or minor truck movements.

"The current NHVR draft policy and standards offer insufficient tolerances and no flexibility, leaving drivers exposed to prosecution for inconsequential technical breaches that will have no impact on safety," Weller says.

"The ATA believes the primary aim of EWDs must be to increase industry safety through better fatigue management by aiding drivers in achieving compliance – not to increase enforcement opportunities."

The ATA also restated its opposition to a NHVR proposal that would see an EWD provide a 28-day list of every minor breach to enforcement officers when a vehicle was checked.

"The policy will not improve safety and effectively means that EWD users would be subject to more stringent rules than written work diary users," according to the ATA submission.

The ATA also argues that more should be done to increase the quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas before voluntary EWDs were rolled out.

The NHVR had released a draft EWD Policy Framework and Standards in late December last year, with a plan to commence formal assessment and approvals of EWDs in early 2018 – drafting a standard that all such systems must meet.

 

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