South Australia amends fatigue law (Transport)

By Brad Gardner | November 1, 2011

National uniformity on fatigue management regulations is a step closer, with South Australia announcing it will formally adopt the Queensland and NSW time counting system next week.

Australia’s transport ministers agreed in June to adopt similar time counting rules following an industry-led campaign for reform.

Victoria and South Australia currently count time differently to Queensland and NSW under fatigue management. The inconsistencies mean Queensland and NSW drivers compliant in both states can be hit with severe breaches when crossing into South Australia or Victoria.

“SA has amended regulations to take effect from November 10, 2011 to adopt the agreed national position for heavy vehicle driver fatigue and counting of time for enforcement purposes,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (DTEI) says.

Victoria was due to amend its time counting rule by the end of last month, but there has been no confirmation from VicRoads of any changes.

Under the changes, all states will count driving time from a major rest break to determine if a driver has worked the correct amount of hours in a 24-hour period.

Victorian and South Australian enforcement officers can currently count time from any rest break, meaning drivers can face multiple fatigue breaches.

The push for change came when the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) highlighted the case of a Queensland-based truck driver last year who was slugged with seven breaches when he crossed into Victoria.

The NSW branch of the Transport Workers Union also defended two owner-drivers caught out by the inconsistent counting rules while travelling through South Australia.