HVNL case underlines the need to review your fatigue systems

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Members should take note of a recent New South Wales Supreme Court decision that increased a Heavy Vehicle National Law fine for speed and fatigue offences by a factor of 14 times upon appeal.

A Director of a regionally based line-haul operator involved was originally fined $6,000 and a manager $3,000 for a number of speed and fatigue offences.

They had entered guilty pleas to contravening their duty under section 26C of the HVNL Act to manage driver fatigue, speed, and compliance with work and rest hours.

Transport for NSW appealed the penalties and the Supreme Court found in its favour, saying the original fines were “manifestly inadequate”. The fines were increased to $210,000.

The company was found to have failed to put in place and maintain adequate systems and practices to manage fatigue, and had not provided adequate training.

NatRoad makes no judgement regarding the specifics of this case.

We do urge Members to have a good look at their systems for managing fatigue, fitness to drive and driver reporting. Our advisers can assist.

Generally, we have long campaigned for HVNL law changes for more common sense in enforcement and for penalties to match risk.