It’s no secret that the HVNL is large and complicated. It is a credit to most drivers that they nonetheless have a firm grip on its requirements and can drive for decades without upsetting authorities with non-compliance.
So naturally, it frustrates and saddens me when I am contacted by such a driver, who despite having a wealth of experience in the industry, has been served with a Court Attendance Notice for breaching the HVNL… although I’m generally not as frustrated as the driver themselves and fair enough!
A Change Of Plans
Generally, when such drivers tell me their stories, the common theme is that something about the day in question didn’t go to plan, and the charge flowed from their efforts to keep up with the day and adjust to make it work.
It might be that a usual run was delayed by an hour while the truck was in at the mechanic’s, or a blown tyre led to hours stuck roadside midway through a trip and intense pressure to get to a destination in time, or rain falling on an uncovered load made it heavier than anticipated.
The sad thing is that these potholes catch out even the most experienced drivers. In addition to taking a moment when plans change to consider all the implications and plot out the rest of your day, there are a few systems you can put in place now so that during those times, you can focus more on making the day work instead of worrying about breaking the rules unintentionally. Therefore, I recommend considering the following:
1. Investing In A Real-time Driver Fatigue App
I get it, I have a love/hate relationship with technology too. But I promise you, these things are worth learning your way around so you have them as a fallback. The moment your plans change, you can input the details of work you’ve done so far in the last 24 hours and what your plans are for the rest of the day, and even the next, and the app will tell you when you need to rest to ensure that you are compliant with the law. When you’re stressed, getting your head around the impact of a change of plans on overlapping time periods isn’t easy – let your phone/computer help.
2. Keep A Ready Reckoner Handy
Keeping a ready reckoner of all the heavy vehicles you use and their limits. Often problems come when the usual vehicle for a job is out of action and its lesser-known replacement doesn’t have the same capacities. Having a concise list of the dimension and mass limits, including axel weights of all your trucks will enable you to make alternate plans efficiently and without breaching the rules.
3. Stop At The Nearest Weigh Station
Getting into the habit of stopping at the nearest weigh station before leaving on a trip. I hear you, this is inefficient, but it could save you a fortune if your contractor has packed your load badly, lied on the forms or something has intervened to make it heavier than expected.
4. Installing Scales
Installing scales on your trucks. I appreciate this isn’t always an economic option, but it is a sure-fire way to avoid breaching mass rules.
Hopefully, these tips will position you well to navigate around the potholes. But if you do find yourself on the wrong side of the HVNL, or if you want some advice from an experienced heavy vehicle lawyer, please feel free to give me a ring.
Please call us today at 0416 224 601 or leave an enquiry.