The NHVR investigations unit has announced charged a company after extensive analysis of the  National Driver Work Diaries, fuel records, GPS data, and heavy vehicle sightings, revealing systemic issues with fatigue management, scheduling, and speed management. The analysis has led to a breach of Section 26C of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), a Category 3 Offence and resulted in extensive charges.

The investigation revealed 543 total infringements between 28 August 2020 to 22 September 2020 and 28 March 2022 to 6 April 2022.

According to the NHVR the breaches, largely attributed to four drivers, included 44 work and rest offences, 93 instances of providing false or misleading information, and 406 speeding violations.

Following a plea of guilty, the company was convicted and fined $65,000. Additionally, a Supervisory Intervention Order (SIO) was ordered for 12 months, necessitating significant operational reforms, including the adoption of Electronic Work Diaries and enhanced Fatigue Management Training.

While the maximum penalty available in this case was more than $500,000, the court discounted the fine because of the extensive remedial work that company had put in place since the offending.

The NHVR says its action against the company underscores the importance of adhering to the HVNL, especially regarding monitoring drivers work and rest hours, following the road rules, ensuring the accuracy of work diaries

NHVR director of prosecutions, Belinda Hughes said the severity of the breaches could have had serious consequences for driver and ultimately community safety if left undetected.

“Fatigue continues to be the central issue that we see in serious injury and death collisions. Please review your safety processes and systems to ensure that your drivers are not at risk of fatigue,” Hughes said.

“This company took immediate steps following the charges to manage their safety risks. We encourage industry not to wait for an investigation or charges to be laid and to review what’s in place now,” she said.

Emma Watson, NHVR director of investigations, said the outcome reflects the strong commitment to carrying out this investigation and identifies positive outcomes using SIOs.

“The investigation revealed the company failed to support their employees with the relevant safety measures and this outcome is a commitment to seeing these standards improved,” Watson said.

Given the number of road incidents each year, NHVR remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the safety of all drivers.

The NHVR’s website offers a multitude of resources to assist operators, schedulers, and drivers in understanding their responsibilities under the HVNL.

In cases where drivers feel pressured to operate while fatigued, they are encouraged to call the Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Hotline at 1800 931 785.