WA transport company convicted over fatigue breaches

Depot manager instructed drivers to “lose their work diaries”

WA transport company convicted over fatigue breaches
Eyre Highway, South Australia: a long stretch to Ceduna.


The depot manager of a Western Australian transport company has been convicted in South Australia under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) for driver directives leading to critical breaches of fatigue regulations.

NHVR executive director statutory compliance Ray Hassall says an investigation was launched after drivers from the company were intercepted by National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) safety and compliance officers near Ceduna.

"Officers pulled up a two-up driving arrangement near Ceduna and found that both drivers were in critical breach of their work and rest requirements under the HVNL," Hassall says.

"They were on the return leg of a trip from Perth to Sydney and had notified their depot manager that they both required their mandated 24 hour rest break. 

"The defendant then instructed them to ‘lose their work diaries’ and continue driving."

The drivers were stopped by officers near Ceduna after being on the road for eight days with a 24-hour rest break.

The defendant was charged with two offences against Section 26E HVNL – one count relating to each of the drivers in the two-up arrangement.

The defendant pleaded guilty and was fined $3000 for each count, which was reduced from $4000 per count for his early guilty pleas.

A conviction was recorded on each count. The maximum penalty for each offence was $11,120.

Hassall says drivers can’t perform their jobs safely and to the best of their ability when they’re fatigued and the safety risk presented by drivers put in this position is immense.

"Heavy vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility," he adds.

"Whether you’re a depot manager, a driver, working in a distribution centres, scheduling or even a managing director, you have an obligation to do your best to keep our roads safe."

Hassall advises transport workers who are asked to do something they view as unsafe, they should make a free confidential report to the Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line on 1800 931 785.

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