According to an article on www.Fullyloaded.com.au members of the trucking industry are concerned about a clause in the proposed new work diary which gives enforcement officers the power to determine if a driver is fatigued.
The diary is due to be introduced on July 1 during which time the NHVR will take over the running of fatigue management regulations. Basically the diary limits the amount of information drivers need to record and provides advice on fatigue laws to help the industry comply.
The new work diary developed by the NTC and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) aims to make it easier for drivers to comply with their obligations and put an end to fines because of clerical errors.
Trucking industry feedback to the National Transport Commission (NTC) about the new diary has raised questions about why officers who are not medically qualified should be allowed to make a call about whether drivers are fatigued or not.
The article on Fullyloaded.com.au mentions Paul Ryan from the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) who has asked the NTC to explain whether officers had received medical training and where to enable them to make judgements about driver’s state while driving.
Truck drivers have also added their voices to the concerns demanding to know why untrained officers should be allowed to make decisions on whether a person is driving impaired or not.
Read what else the post on Fullyloaded.com.au went on to explain:
“The authorised officer is not a trained medical graduate, nor a practicing doctor nor even a first year medical student and yet, they are expected to make a clinical diagnosis…,” Ettery has written to the NTC.
He wants the section of the diary revoked or revised.
Ettery has also sought clarification on what constitutes work and rest. The diary states non-driving time may or may not be work depending on what demands drivers are subjected to.
It goes on to say drivers can ask an authorised officer for advice, a move trucking advocate Rod Hannifey has told the NTC will be open to interpretation.
Ettery believes the clause will lead to uncertainty and confusion unless it is amended.
“I can just see this one question alone, if let in its current form, leading to litigation and further problems,” he writes.
According to the new diary regulations, small clerical errors will no longer result in a fine – for example, the diary states occasional spelling errors are acceptable so long as the person reviewing the diary “can reasonably understand the meaning of your entry”.
Trucking industry members are concerned about ambiguity with the new diary and the fact that it leaves too much room for interpretation.
The post goes on to explain:
Along with labelling the statement ambiguous, Ettery adds that it will be open to the interpretation of authorised officers.
He says people in northern New South Wales think of Coonabarabran when someone writes ‘Coona’, while the abbreviation to people in South Australia and Western Victoria means Coonawarra.
He adds that a person in northern NSW or southern Queensland thinks of Goondiwindi when they see ‘Gundy’, but someone in southern NSW or Victoria understands the abbreviation to mean Gundagai.
“Who’s right and who’s wrong? Who’s interpretation do we rely on?” he asks.
According to the article Ettery also wants officers to sign truckies work diaries because they can hold drivers up for long periods of time which affects their diaries. Ettery says he has in the past been held for up to 15 minutes and the officer refused to sign his work diary, in fact some officers become hostile when asked to do so.