The NHVR recognises that heavy vehicle drivers in Australia may need to use their fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for personal reasons from time to time as they cannot reasonably access alternative means of transport.
As any activity involving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is counted as work and limited by the Heavy Vehicle National Law, the NHVR has granted an exemption to provide drivers with additional work time if it is needed.
National work and rest hours exemption
The National Heavy Vehicle Work and Rest Hours Exemption (Personal Use) Notice 2018 (No.1) (PDF, 715KB) provides up to an hour of additional work time to drivers under Standard Hours to use a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for permitted personal activities
Permitted personal activity refers to any work done by a driver for personal, non-commercial purposes and includes:
- stowing or retrieving personal effects from a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
- cleaning a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
- refueling a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
- driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for personal reasons.
The exemption allows drivers to use their heavy vehicle for personal activities in two specific circumstances:
- during the 24-hour rest break
- at the end of their shift, prior to their major rest break.
The exemption provides flexibility for non-commercial purposes only as the NHVR wants to protect drivers from commercial pressures leading to longer work time. Because of this, it can't be used, for example, to drive the vehicle to a mechanic for repairs or to get home at the end of a journey. The exemption can only be used under Standard Hours, if additional work time is needed for commercial needs, drivers and operators should apply for BFM or AFM accreditation.
The Heavy Vehicle Advisory Publication – Personal use of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles (PDF, 179KB) contains further information on the exemption, including:
- when and when not to use the exemption
- what constitutes a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
- how to safely manage this time
- what to do after having used the exemption.
The Notice of Final Rule Making – Personal use of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles (PDF, 214KB) contains a summary of responses received to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making and the NHVR’s disposition following the feedback received during the consultation period. It:
- provides a background of the regulatory change proposed and consultation undertaken
- discusses the submissions made in response to NPRM1701
- provides an analysis of the responses and gives an NHVR response and disposition
- discusses the impact and gives an explanation of the changes
- provides the final changes and associated advisory materials.