The work diary can be a frustrating and difficult system to navigate. Drivers often feel trapped with their job responsibilities, forced into completing a record later used as proof against them in the event they make an honest mistake on-the-job.
This is something most drivers would most likely not experience if the system was easier! It is no surprise then that some try finding ways around this rule so they’re protected from prosecution. As a consequence, there are many creative solutions aimed at loopholes found within these rules by those looking out for themselves more than anything else.
You may have heard that the work diary is not a reliable way of recording your hours. This could not be further from the truth!
The suggested alternatives I’ve been hearing lately are:
- Don’t sign in because the authorities can’t force you to
- Write “subject-to mistakes” next to the time so there will always be an asterisk if something goes wrong or before any sensitive information needs hiding
- Don’t fill out this form at all – just write “NA” whenever it asks for occupation details
- Argue what was signed wasn’t signed under legally binding conditions (witnessed by a JP for example)
Unfortunately, none of these suggestions will work. The law contains provisions that address each one. This means drivers must complete their work diaries and sign them off as accurate or else they can be charged with an offence.
These offences include providing false information so mistakes in your diary are caught under that provision. Furthermore, there’s no legal requirement to have a declaration witnessed in order for it to be used as evidence.
It’s very important to be aware of this so you don’t get yourself into trouble. It’s quite common for misinformation to be shared between colleagues and friends, which can actually have the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve, although they may mean well. By doing this, you could actually find yourself committing an offence without knowing it or worse still, setting yourself up for an even tougher penalty.
Courts have the discretion to reduce or waive penalties where a driver has made an honest mistake. They also take into account whether they think the motorist is respecting traffic laws in determining what sort of punishment will fit best for them.
Refusing to sign your work diary, indicating that you may have made mistakes or just not completing it can come across as though a driver is not sincerely following the law. While this may not be the case, most magistrates may see it that way.
So not only could you find yourself in court for an offence that may not have taken place if you had completed the diary according to instructions, but there’s also every chance of receiving a bigger fine for what would otherwise just be classed as a simple mistake.
There are many ways to get around the rules, but remember that these laws were written with your best interests in mind and also so loopholes can’t be exploited. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Taking matters into your own hands can lead to more trouble than you think. If possible, consult with an experienced heavy vehicle lawyer before making any decisions about what actions you think are legal and appropriate. Our team at Ainsley Law are more than happy to chat with you. A quick phone call before you try something new can save you having to call us for help with a court appearance down the track.
Please call us today at 0416 224 601 or leave an enquiry.