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Prime Mover Magazine

ATA says EWDs not the solution to driver fatigue

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) does not support the rollout of voluntary electronic work diaries (EWDs) as proposed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), according to Safety and Skills Adviser, Melissa Weller.

“We do not support the NHVR’s draft EWD policy framework and standards, because the standards don’t meet the needs of the industry and they focus more on enforcement than achieving safety outcomes,” said Weller.

“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.

“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,” she said.

The ATA submission on the draft EWD policy framework and standards recommends the NHVR should not proceed with the rollout of voluntary EWDs until: the fatigue regulations have been amended to include realistic EWD tolerances; further action is taken to increase the quantity, capacity and quality of driver rest areas; the standards are amended so that EWDs do not provide a 28 day list of minor breaches to enforcement officers; a statement has been issued by the NHVR clarifying the meaning of ‘voluntary’ EWD with specific reference to NHVAS, PBS, notice and permit conditions.

The ATA is working to find better fatigue management solutions by disrupting current thinking. 

“Technology could play a huge role in guiding and improving business and driver behaviour around fatigue management, but the current system doesn’t include what is known about the science of sleep,” said ATA CEO, Ben Maguire.

“The conversation about fatigue must change. Drivers are individuals and fatigue is a biological state. Not everybody functions the same way or has the same health status. Prescribing the exact hours and minutes is no longer showing results,” he said.

The ATA has initiated a driver fatigue management hackathon, to be held at Trucking Australia in April 2018. This is an opportunity for developers to challenge thinking about driver fatigue management and investigate innovative ideas that can advance the industry and save lives.

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