National Driver Work Diary

National Driver Work Diary (PDF 3.8MB) – has information and examples to guide you, including advice on: definitions and words used in the work diary, legal requirements for keeping work diary records, filling in your daily sheet, how to count time, work and rest hour options, and frequently asked questions.

Supplementary work diary record (PDF 420KB) – can be used as a supplementary record for up to 7 business days if your work diary is lost, stolen or destroyed. You must notify the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), or your local state or territory road transport authority, within 2 days of your work diary being lost, stolen or destroyed.

Locations to purchase a work diary – the work diary can be purchased for $25 at many locations throughout Australia.

What is a work diary used for?

A work diary is evidence that a driver’s work and rest hours are compliant with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and that their fatigue is being managed. Drivers are not allowed to drive or work more than the maximum work hours or rest less than the minimum rest hours in a certain period set out by law.

Most drivers of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle are required by law to create a record of time spent working (including driving time) and resting on a daily basis. The HVNL names the circumstances where a work diary must be used as the method to create this record.

What is a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle?

A fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 12 tonnes. This includes a vehicle combination of a total GVM of more than 12 tonnes. A bus of more than 4.5 tonnes fitted to carry more than 12 adults, including the driver is also a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle.

A vehicle built or modified to operate as machinery or equipment off-road and which is not capable of carrying goods or passenger by road, is not a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle. A motorhome is not a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle.

When must I use a work diary?

All drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles who drive more than 100km from their home base or operate under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) must complete a work diary to record their work and rest times unless they have a work diary exemption (either through a notice or permit).

Work diary exemptions



Heavy vehicle drivers operating under standard hours who cannot make records in their work diary because of literacy issues or a print disability can apply for a work diary exemption (permit).

To apply for this permit, the driver must be able to substantiate their literacy issues or print disability (for example, through a medical certificate) and nominate an assistant to help them complete their work diary at a suitable time.

Where can I get help with filling in a work diary?

Your employer or more experienced drivers may be able to help you fill out a work diary for the first time. You can also contact the NHVR for more advice on filling out a work diary.

Some Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) offer the course Complete a work diary in the road transport industry (TLIE3028A). Visit to locate a training provider.

What if my work diary is lost, stolen or destroyed?

If your work diary is lost, stolen or destroyed, you must notify the NHVR or your local state or territory road transport authority within 2 business days. Until you purchase a new work diary, you can use a Supplementary work diary record (PDF 420KB) as a supplementary record and carry it with you like a work diary.

You can only use a supplementary record for up to 7 business days. By the end of this period, you must be using a work diary.

A supplementary record must be treated the same way as your work diary. You must keep a copy of all supplementary records with you in the vehicle for 28 days and give a copy to your record keeper within 21 days.

Do I have to complete a work diary record on days when I only do local work under standard hours?

For a day on which you only do local work under standard hours, you don’t have to record in a work diary. However, record keepers (including drivers who are self-employed) must record some information about local work. If your record keeper doesn’t know this information already, they may ask you for:

  • the registration number of the vehicle(s) you drove
  • the total number of hours you worked and total number of hours you rested that day.

If I am stopped by an authorised officer on the road, is this work or rest time?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it will depend on whether you are required to interact with the authorised officer or attend to your vehicle. An example of what could be considered work would be if you are required to respond to questions from an authorised officer throughout the intercept.

If you are unsure, it is usually in your best interests to count the time spent as work.

Can I have a split rest under BFM?

A split rest is where a driver takes 6 continuous hours at one time and 2 continuous hours another time in a 24-hour period, rather than the required 7 continuous hours of rest.

Split rests are not encouraged because they can impact on the quality of a driver’s sleep. However, the HVNL does provide a defence if you take a split rest under BFM. The defence only applies if you had at least the required 7 continuous hours of rest in the previous 24-hour period and you did not schedule the split rest.

What's different in my state or territory?

The fatigue laws relating to work diaries currently apply in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Australian Capital Territory

  • The ACT has not previously legislated model fatigue laws and the new fatigue management and work diary requirements have not commenced; a start date is currently under review.
  • As drivers of heavy vehicles located in the ACT regularly drive interstate, work diaries may be kept in accordance with the requirements of those other jurisdictions as part of a fatigue risk management system.

Northern Territory and Western Australia

  • The Northern Territory and Western Australia are not commencing the HVNL at this time and all road transport business with government remains under current state and territory law.
  • If you are a driver in the Northern Territory or Western Australia, you don’t have to use a work diary or similar unless you leave the state or territory. However, you can still choose to use a work diary as part of your fatigue risk management system.
  • If you enter and stay within the Northern Territory or Western Australia for less than 7 days, you should fill out a work diary for the entire period. 
  • When leaving the Northern Territory or Western Australia after a stay of more than 7 days, you must use a work diary from at least the last major rest break before crossing the border.