The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed a move from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to expand the personal use exemption for drivers operating under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) and Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, we are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.
The exemption was first introduced in 2018 for drivers on standard hours, with the new extension to allow truck drivers operating under BFM and AFM to use their trucks for a short extra period during their 24-hour stationary rest break.
“This means that BFM and AFM drivers will now have the flexibility to refuel their truck, run errands or wash their truck during their 24-hour break,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said.
“The flexibility will particularly benefit drivers who have to take their rest break away from home and have no other vehicle they can use to get into town to run errands.
“Importantly, the extra hour cannot be used for commercial purposes such as driving a truck to a mechanic for repairs,” he said.
The extension follows calls from the ATA to treat drivers like humans, not machines. It comes as welcome news and a positive step towards more flexible fatigue management.
“The ATA is fully supportive of any initiative that will improve the quality of life and wellbeing of Australia’s truck drivers – those who keep our country moving,” he said.
In its submission to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review issues paper on effective fatigue management, the ATA called for a number of additional flexible fatigue management solutions, including easier to use work diaries, a length incentive for operators that fit wider sleeper cabs, and an extra hour to get home for drivers using the ATA’s new version of standard hours.