To get the most out of your allowed work and rest hours as a long-haul truck driver, not to mention to avoid trouble with the authorities, it is important to know where to draw the line between work and rest time.
I recently had a client who was charged with not taking enough rest in a 24-hour period. When we broke down what he had done with his day, we worked out that he had recorded a lot of time as work that would actually have counted as rest. And when that time was counted, he had actually rested for the right amount of time!
This driver’s mistake was counting the time that he was on the clock with his employer as work – including the time when he was sitting around while others were loading and unloading his truck. Recording this time as rest instead, gave him a lot more space in his day for driving.
On the other end of the spectrum, the other mistake I see is where drivers assume that work = driving, then they get in trouble for recording time as rest that in fact counts as work.
Some examples of time not behind the wheel that should still be recorded above the line are:
1. Filling out your work diary or planning your trip
2. Inspecting your vehicle before leaving base or a rest stop
3. Dealing with a Transport or Police officer roadside
4. Loading and unloading where you are participating or supervising
5. Doing marketing or office work nowhere near the truck.
I understand that these examples make that line in the diary look pretty blurry. If it helps, focusing on what counts as “rest” might be easier. Rest covers any time that is not adding to fatigue – when you are completely disengaged from your work and vehicle.
Good precautions to take include:
1. Being deliberate in disengaging for rest time – particularly if you are waiting for your truck to be loaded or unloaded – so that it cannot be said that you are supervising.
2. Getting legal advice about your particular routines.
3. If in doubt, count the time as work.
If you are not sure if a part of what you do belongs above or below the line, feel free to contact us at Ainsley Law on 0416 224 601 for personalised advice.