Legislative changes expected to be introduced next year in all states except Western Australia are set to allow truck drivers to work between 12 and 15.5 hours in a single 24 hour period if they follow a fatigue management strategy. Examples of fatigue management include fitness tests, the passing of which would allow a driver to work longer hours.
Victoria Police have also expressed concern over the manner in which hours are to be counted and assert that the process is open to exploitation. The recording of hours is to be done in a national work diary, and time will be broken up into 15 minute blocks. Victoria Police are concerned however that the recording of hours in this manner means that a standard 12 hour shift could potentially be manipulated in such a way as to allow an extra 4 hours of work.
250 people are killed in Australia each year in collisions that involve a heavy vehicle, a further 1000 are injured. Recent studies show that driver fatigue is the cause of almost twice as many crashes on Victorian roads when compared to intoxication.