Tackling heavy vehicle driver fatigue

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) announces the successful conclusion of Operation Forager, a four-week initiative dedicated to combating heavy vehicle driver fatigue during the holiday season.

The NHVR partnered with police across the country to conduct Operation Forager, which commenced on November 20, 2023, to heighten awareness about the critical nature of managing fatigue while driving heavy vehicles.

The national operation represents another step forward in the NHVR’s ongoing commitment to enhancing road safety and ensuring the well-being of both heavy vehicle drivers and the wider community.

NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati said over the course of the four-week operation, NHVR officers conducted more than 5350 heavy vehicle intercepts across the Southern and Central Regions.

“Work diary and fatigue-related education was provided in 623 of these intercepts, accounting for approximately 156 hours of roadside education with drivers, highlighting the NHVR’s commitment to safety within the heavy vehicle industry,” Mr Salvati said.

“Operation Forager shows the effectiveness of our holistic approach to safety, that combines education with enforcement, ensuring that heavy vehicle operators are not only aware of the regulations but also equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions on the road about their safety.

“I would like to commend the heavy vehicle industry for their safety efforts over the busy holiday period, particularly during the severe weather events we experienced across the country.”

Mr Salvati said Operation Forager placed a strong emphasis on the importance of maintaining accurate work diaries, as a critical tool in complying with work and rest hour requirements and preventing fatigue-related incidents.

“By investing significant time and effort in educating heavy vehicle drivers on work diaries and fatigue, especially new drivers, we aim to create a lasting impact that extends beyond the duration of this operation,” Mr Salvati said.

“Education is an investment in safety. By ensuring drivers understand the importance of accurate work diaries, we are arming them with the knowledge to actively manage their work and rest hours.”

However, Mr Salvati said while education is a powerful tool in preventing fatigue-related incidents, the NHVR doesn’t hesitate to enforce the Heay Vehicle National Law where required.

“Of the total intercepts conducted by NHVR officers, 207 resulted in fatigue-related compliance action.

“Unfortunately, 129 of these offences were detected for driver’s exceeding their allowable work hours, or not taking adequate periods of rest.

“We want to remind heavy vehicle drivers of the critical importance of practicing safe behaviours, including taking rest and meal breaks.

“If you are on the road and feel the five signs of fatigue – inattention, irregular body movements, erratic vehicle movements, dull sensory alertness, or poor concentration – please, take a break.”

Read more on fatigue management on the NHVR website.

The NHVR encourages drivers who feel pressured by their employer to drive while fatigued to call the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Hotline on 1800 931 785.