Transport Work Diaries Legal Issues

Gone are the days where blowing a steer tyre or frying a turbo on the Nullarbor are the most dreaded situations for a truck driver.

Both state and federal legislation has brought about requirements for drivers to complete work diaries in the course of their employment with a view to providing a structure for fatigue management to make our roads safer. Despite the good intentions of this legislation, each day I hear from drivers who have failed to comply with the recording rules of a work diary on points that don’t relate to fatigue, leading to the widespread feeling that work diaries are a tool to generate revenue for governments.

Even though these requirements have been around for some time now, there are still interpretations rolling around as to what are and are not the correct methods of filling out work diaries and when they should or should not be completed.

To clarify some key points which have lead to fines being issued to our clients:

1. When starting work, you must record the following:

a. Your name and current driver’s licence number (including the state where the licence was issued);
b. The day and date of the week;
c. The address and time zone of your base (and if you have more than two employers, the base of each employer);
d. The address where the driver’s records are kept;
e. Whether you are working as a solo or a 2-up driver;
f. The work rest option you are working under;
g. The accreditation number of the operator of the vehicle if you are working under BFM or AFM accreditation.

2. Immediately before and after each work and rest change, you must record:

a. The nature of the work or rest change;
b. The length of rest time spent anywhere since the last work and rest change;
c. The time and place of the work and rest change;
d. The odometer reading;
e. The registration number of each heavy vehicle driven at the time of the change.

3. Before finishing work, you must complete the totals of the work time and the rest time for that day.

At this stage, at the completion of a period of work and prior to commencing rest time, you should be completing your work diary prior to leaving your truck and equally at the end of a rest time and before commencing work time you should complete your work diary.
The other area drawing attention from the authorities is the spelling of names of places. Though the name of the location would obviously relate to the general area you are in, this is also a subject that is leading to the issuing of fines to drivers along with penalty points which have implications for licensing.

Regarding fatigue management (or revenue raising… I will let you decide), make sure you are complying with the rules relating to recording in your work diary so that the next time your diary is inspected it is a far more enjoyable experience.

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