COVID pressures prompt NHVR confidential reporting reminder


Border issues and unrealistic demands on industry raise NHVR alarm

COVID pressures prompt NHVR confidential reporting reminder
NHVR chair Duncan Gay

 

Reports of stress on drivers and operators in recent months has prompted the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to remind the industry that its Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line (HVCRL) is available to probe issues across the Chain of Responsibility (COR).

In 2019-20 the HVCRL received 1,288 calls, resulting in 889 claims that were assessed and investigated by the NHVR or police and transport authorities, the regulator notes.

Information received about fatigue, loading and mechanical safety represent the most common reports.

NHVR chair Duncan Gay acknowledges recent months have placed added strain on many quarters of industry.


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"This has been a challenging time for our industry, but we don’t want it made worse by people putting others in danger," Gay says.

"The HVCRL team are ready and willing to assist with resolving safety issues across the supply chain, whether its undue pressure at the depot, the distribution centre or the drop off point.

"The pressure is compounded by the additional requirements around borders, hygiene and mask-wearing that drivers are having to manage.

"We’ve also heard reports that some customers have started extending their payment terms to try and compensate for future losses.

"While these are challenging times for everyone, heavy vehicle operators should not be put under pressure to break the law.

"Road freight is the backbone of our economy and operators have been working day and night for months to ensure supermarket shelves stay stocked and health supplies are getting where they’re needed.

"Now more than ever, it’s critical that all businesses act in good faith to keep our industry safe and Australia moving."

NHVR clarifies the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) imposes a positive obligation on any party in the COR to ensure their conduct doesn’t encourage the driver of a heavy vehicle to contravene the law; and specifically prohibits those parties from requiring or entering into a contract with a driver that would encourage the driver to speed, work while fatigued or drive in breach of the driver’s work and rest hours option.

Gay urged operators or drivers concerned about being asked to sign or perform a contract that is in breach of COR laws to contact the HVCRL on 1800 931 785.

 

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