Work and 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 (HVNL)sets three work and rest options.

  1. Standard hours
    Standard hours are the work and rest hours allowed in the HVNL for all drivers who are not operating under National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) accreditation or an exemption. They are the maximum amount of work and minimum amount of rest possible that can be performed safely without additional safety countermeasures.
  2. 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. BFM gives operators a greater say in when drivers can work and rest, as long as the risks of driver fatigue are properly managed.
  3. Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)
    Those operating under NHVAS with Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) accreditation adopt a genuine risk management approach to managing heavy vehicle driver fatigue. Rather than prescribing work and rest hours, AFM offers more flexibility than standard hours or BFM in return for the operator demonstrating greater accountability for managing their drivers’ fatigue risks.

The Fatigue Expert Reference Group (FERG) is an advisory body that supports the NHVR with decisions related to AFM accreditation.

The Livestock and Rural Transport Fatigue Management Scheme provides a pre-approved template Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) accreditation system designed to give livestock transporters the flexibility to respond to the dynamic, uncertain and complex livestock transport task.