Fatigue Management

Heavy vehicle fatigue management is a significant hazard facing the road transport industry. Learn about the rest requirements and how to plan.

Read time: 2 mins

Driver fatigue is one of the most significant safety hazards facing the road transport industry. Heavy Vehicle crashes are dangerous and costly to all road users, and fatigue is a major contributor.

Heavy Vehicle National Law:

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) administers one set of laws, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) for heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass.

The HVNL (being the Schedule to the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (Qld) and four regulations) commenced on 10 February 2014 in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Each of these states and territories passed a law that either adopts or duplicates the HVNL (with some modifications) as a law of that State or Territory.

The HVNL has not commenced in Western Australia or the Northern Territory, however the HVNL applies to vehicles from those jurisdictions when they cross into one of the states or territories where the HVNL applies.

National heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws apply to fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles, which are:

  •  a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of over 12t
  • a combination when the total of the GVM is over 12t
  • buses with a GVM over 4.5t fitted to carry more than 12 adults (including the driver)
  • a truck, or a combination including a truck, with a GVM of over 12t with a machine or implement attached.

Work & Rest Requirements:

In addition to the general duty to not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while fatigued, drivers must comply with certain maximum work and minimum rest limits.

Parties in the supply chain have to take all reasonable steps to prevent the drivers from exceeding these limits. This is similar to occupational health and safety laws and means that drivers must be allowed to stop if they are at risk of exceeding the limits and make alternative arrangements.

The Heavy Vehicle National Law sets three work and rest options.

  • Standard hours
  • Basic Fatigue Management (BFM)
  • Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)

Standard hours

Standard hours are the work and rest hours allowed in the HVNL. They are the maximum amount of work and minimum amount of rest possible that can be performed safely without additional safety countermeasures.

Read more about Standard hours

Basic Fatigue Management (BFM)

Those operating under NHVAS with Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) accreditation can operate under more flexible work and rest hours, allowing for (among other things) work of up to 14 hours in a 24-hour period.

Read more about Basic Fatigue Management (BFM)

Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)

Rather than setting work and rest hours, AFM offers the flexibility to propose your own hours as long as the fatigue risks of those hours are offset by sleep, rest and other management practices in a compliant fatigue management system.

Read more about Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)

Work and rest time have to be kept for all fatigue regulated vehicles. Drivers of heavy vehicles travelling further than 100km from their base have to complete the National Work Dairy.  Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance of record keeping and diary keeping obligations.

For more information or if you have any questions contact NatRoad advisers on 02 6295 3000 or email [email protected].


Fatigue Management Policy