New South Wales has changed its record-keeping rules for heavy vehicle drivers. The new rules apply to drivers who are operating under a Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) accreditation or an Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) accreditation.
Driving hours are strictly limited, and specific rest periods mandated, for heavy vehicle drivers who operate under standard hours. Drivers with BFM accreditation are allowed to operate under more flexible work and rest hours. For example, they can work up to 14 hours in a 24-hour period. BFM gives drivers greater discretion in deciding when to work and rest, provided that they manage the risks of driver fatigue.
AMF offers drivers even more flexibility. Drivers with AFM accreditation have a greater ability to set their own hours, provided they use an appropriate fatigue management system to offset fatigue risks with sleep, rest and other management practices.
Drivers of heavy vehicles generally need to record their driving and rest hours in a diary. Before the rule change, drivers in NSW only needed to make diary entries when they travelled outside of a radius of 100 km from their base. That continues to be true for drivers operating under Standard Hours
For drivers operating under a BFM or AFM accreditation, the 100 km exemption will no longer apply in NSW. They will need to record all of their driving and rest hours in a diary. The change took effect on 1 May 2016.
The new rule is part of a uniform standard. When every state and territory follows the same rules, drivers do not need to obey different rules depending on the state or territory in which they are driving. The change conforms NSW law to the laws of most other states and territories.
Within NSW, drivers operating under Standard Hours are only required to complete a diary if they travel outside a 100km radius of their base. Keep in mind that you need to comply with rest periods that apply to Standard Hours even if you are not required to keep a diary.
If you are operating under a BFM or AFM accreditation, you will need to keep a diary whenever you drive. The obligation to maintain a diary exists no matter how short your trip might be.
You must use an approved diary. You can buy a National Driver Work Diary from the Roads and Maritime Services or from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.
Violations of the law Drivers can be charged with a crime if they violate any driver fatigue rules. Keeping an accurate diary provides drivers with evidence of their compliance with the law.
Failing to keep the diary up-to-date, on the other hand, is a criminal offence. You should obtain legal advice if you are charged with failing to keep a diary, because the consequences might affect your driving privileges.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.