Diary Entry

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) recently approved a new Electronic Work Diary (EWD) developed by Hubfleet, an Aussie start-up business founded by James Doherty.

Hubfleet Founder James Doherty is a civil engineer by trade, having spent much of his career developing software for the engineering industry.

“Having friends involved with road transport, I’ve known about the issues with driver fatigue and work diaries for quite a while,” James says.

“The idea to build an EWD has been in the back of my mind for around five years.”

When the NHVR first released the EWD standard, he and his wife were raising five-month-old twins as well as two older children, so the timing wasn’t great to start a side project.

However, fast forward a couple of years and with family life settling down, he made the most of some long service leave as well as some extra leave forced on him by the COVID-19 situation to commit to the project.

“I decided the time was right and gathered a great team of developers together to build an EWD,” James recalls.

“Nearly two years later we have an NHVR-approved system that we believe is the best in the market.”

It’s a bold claim. Among its other benefits, the Hubfleet EWD is the only EWD, according to James, that has met the NHVR’s device agnostic standard and is also the only system that can run WA and NHVR rule sets, including custom Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) rules.

“Our EWD app works on any Android or Apple device that is less than about five years old and has a screen size of 4.5” (11.5cm) or more and there aren’t that many phones that small nowadays,” he says, “so it’s a perfect BYO device solution for owner drivers who don’t want to fork out for expensive new hardware.

“It’s also great for bigger companies that might already have tablets installed in their vehicles,” James says.

The cost of the Hubfleet EWD app is around $19 per driver per month.

Optional extras include a safety management system and a telematics option which cost another $6 and $10 respectively per driver per month.

“The Hubfleet system is completely self-service,” James explains. “Anyone can register with the system and set up a record keeper account, choose the packages they require and select the number of drivers they want to participate and start a free trial straightaway.”

After this is completed, it’s simply a matter of inviting the drivers to connect using their mobile phone numbers.

Owner drivers invite themselves. Each driver is sent a text message with a link to the app and a link to the help centre that includes instructional videos on how to use it.

“We’ve had several companies get started this way and when we’ve reached out to offer support, they haven’t needed it,” James says.

“That, to me, is a sign we are doing something right. We’re also happy to provide support and extra training resources if needed.”

According to James, the feedback from drivers has been extremely positive. Cody Cooper is a multi-combination (MC) driver who regularly delivers freight on 15,000km transcontinental runs between Brisbane and Kalgoorlie.

“Like many others in the industry, I was staunchly opposed to using an EWD,” Cody says. “However, after using the Hubfleet EWD during a company trial program, my views have done a complete 180. Now I firmly believe that to go back to a paper-based work diary would be a massive step in the wrong direction.”

Cody outlines what he sees as the two huge benefits he has experienced with Hubfleet’s EWD.

“Time is counted in minute intervals, allowing for much more productivity, and the app does all the fatigue calculations for the operator,” he says.

“This means there’s no need to stress or second guess yourself about your fatigue breaks, as all potential violations are flagged before the start of a shift.”

Cody says he also appreciates that the Hubfleet EWD works without a cellular data connection, which is crucial for him as he works in some remote areas.

“Hubfleet’s EWD has been a massive benefit to me, allowing more time to cover more kilometres each day and reducing my stress levels through not having to worry about fatigue requirements,” he says.

Fleet managers will also appreciate the Hubfleet web-based back office system as it allows them to keep track of where their drivers are and what they are doing and flag any potential breaches in real-time.

It also automates all the compliance reporting — saving a lot of time and effort in the office.