Fatigue management for commercial vehicle drivers

Commercial Drivers, Fatigue, Sleep management, drivers fatigue

Driver fatigue is a major safety hazard for all drivers. Fatigue crashes tend to be severe with little or no braking or avoidance action taken. The risk of death or serious injury to a driver and passenger or the occupants of other vehicles in a fatigue related crash is very high, according to WorkSafe.

In Western Australia, the State Government, the transport industry and unions have developed a Code of Practice and Regulations which will be used in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Act as an all-encompassing strategy for managing driver fatigue.

The fatigue management for commercial vehicle driver’s code of practice states that the importance of sleep and the timing of work and rest. The operating standard is designed to promote a systematic and considered approach to organising trip schedules and driver rosters to minimise the hazard of fatigue.

Operating standards for commercial vehicle drivers:

Solo drivers:

  • At least 20 minutes of break from driving for every 5 hours of work time – including at least 10 consecutive minutes, during or at the end of five hours. 
  • No more than 168 hours of work time in any 14 day period. 
  • At least 27 hours non-work time in any 72 hour period including at least 3 periods of at least 7 continuous hours of non-work time. 
  • No more than 17 hours between non-work time periods of at least 7 continuous hours 
  • If shift work on five or more consecutive days, at least 24 hours continuous hours of non-work time between shift changes.

Two-up driving: 

  • At least 20 minutes of break from driving for every 5 hours of work time – including at least 10 consecutive minutes, during or at the end of five hours. 
  • No more than 168 hours of work time in any 14 day period. 
  • At least 7 hours non-work time in any 24 hours (may be spent in moving vehicle, stationary vehicle or elsewhere). 
  • If shift work on five or more consecutive days, at least 24 hours continuous hours of non-work time between shift changes.

Medical certificate for commercial vehicle drivers:

Driving a motor vehicle is a complex task involving perception, appropriate judgement, adequate response time and appropriate physical capability. A range of medical conditions, disabilities and treatments may influence these driving prerequisites. There is a requirement for a commercial vehicle driver to hold a current medical certificate in accordance with the Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive standards. The aim of determining fitness to drive is to achieve a balance between minimising any driving-related road safety risks for the individual and the community posed by the driver’s permanent or long-term injury or illness, and maintaining the driver’s lifestyle and employment-related mobility independence.

Occuhealth’s comprehensive Commercial Vehicle Driver’s Medical complies with all industry standards and includes sleep assessments. Medicals can be tailored to meet individual clients needs, for more information, contact us at Occuhealth on +61 8 9537 5700. 

There is only one cure for fatigue. It’s sleep. There is only one way of preventing fatigue. It’s getting enough sleep.

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