At Ainsley Law, we represent many heavy vehicle drivers and operators who find themselves on the wrong side of the HVNL. In 9 out of 10 cases, this happens because something irregular or unexpected occurs, and in the course of adjusting to the change, drivers break the rules without realising it.
One change that can catch drivers out is when local work, within 100km of your base, changes to long haul partway through the day.
The question is, if you’ve spent the morning taking short trips locally, and are then asked by your employer to strap in and drive for over 100km, are you required to record what you have already done that day in your work diary?
The answer, impractical though it may be, is yes.
Are You Breaching Fatigue Laws?
If you find yourself in this position, before you hit the road, you are required to sit down and record the work you have already done locally and plan your upcoming journey so that it complies with all fatigue laws.
Recording the morning as rest in this situation could lead to a charge of making false and misleading entries in the work diary. This could mean a day in court while facing a maximum fine of over $11,000.
It is also important to make sure that your day includes the required amount of rest for each period, and that you do not exceed your maximum work hours when the morning’s runs are counted. Messing this up could also land you in court facing serious penalties.
Consider Using Work Diary Apps
There are a number of good work diary checker apps out there now, which we would recommend using when plans change to make sure you don’t end up in trouble. You can input the work you have already done into these programs, and they will let you know when you must take rest breaks and for how long so you remain compliant with the law. These apps don’t replace your own judgement, but they are brilliant for helping drivers pick up problems with planned trips.
If you have any questions about fatigue legislation or have made a mistake responding to a change of plans, please contact Ainsley Law for personalised advice.
Please call us today at 0416 224 601 or leave an enquiry.