Giving drivers a choice - Australia's first electronic diaries approved

Australian heavy vehicle drivers will now have a choice in how they record their work and rest hours, with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator approving the first Electronic Work Diaries (EWD).

An EWD is an electronic recording system, approved by the NHVR, used to record the work and rest times of a driver as a voluntary alternative to the Written Work Diary.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the rollout of EWDs from 1 December would mean drivers can put down the pen, paper and ruler when recording work and rest hours.

“Congratulations to local Australian companies Step Global and Teletrac Navman which have met the strict requirements to provide an alternative to a Written Work Diary,” Mr McCormack said.

“The work diary has been a requirement for fatigue-related heavy vehicles* for more than half a century, and today more than 200,000 Written Work Diaries are used by heavy vehicle drivers each year.

“This announcement will cut this red tape enabling drivers to record their work and rest hours by simply pressing a button, rather than spending time ruling lines and counting multiple time periods on multiple pieces of paper.”

The EWD Policy Framework and Standards were developed in association with technology providers, transport operators, police and transport authorities in 2018 and were subject to comprehensive review and consultation.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said both companies are technology partners with a number of heavy vehicle operators, which should see a broad rollout across industry.

“This approval gives the providers the green light to work with their partners to use their products as an approved fatigue management system,” Mr Buchholz said.

“We know both technology companies have a number of transport and logistics operators ready and eager to adopt the technology and we should see a good uptake across the industry.

“I congratulate Step Global and Teletrac Navman, this is a historic moment for Australia’s heavy vehicle industry and has the potential to make the work environments of our drivers safer and improve productivity for the industry.”

NHVR Chair Duncan Gay said a company’s investment in EWDs is an investment in industry safety and productivity.

“Right now, industry is managing 60 million pages of work diary paper per year – this equates to 14 B-Double loads of red tape,” Mr Gay said.

“Today’s announcement will enable companies and drivers to more effectively focus on managing their fatigue, rather than managing the book – which is an important step forward in delivering improved fatigue safety outcomes.

“As well as reducing time checking written work records on the side of the road, it also delivers huge cost and time savings for heavy vehicle businesses with many operators spending multiple days every week reconciling the written work book with internal systems.

“I look forward to welcoming other technology providers also submitting systems for approval.”

Background information:

Drivers and operators interested in the benefits of using an EWD should contact an approved provider to arrange their access.

There is currently no application fee to apply for approval of an EWD and all approved EWDs will be listed on the NHVR website at www.nhvr.gov.au/ewd

Authorised officers and police will still be able to check an EWD, including recent records, at the roadside to ensure drivers aren’t exceeding their legal driving limits.

Approval for these companies to provide an EWD was based on comprehensive technical assessments and expert advice and while many operators and the NHVR were keen to see the first EWDs rolled out, it is also important to ensure that approved systems are fit for purpose for Australian laws.

*A fatigue-related heavy vehicle is over 12 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM), travelling more than 100 kilometres from base, or 160 kilometres for an agricultural vehicle.

Media Contacts

Minister McCormack – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668

Assistant Minister – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384

NHVR – Andrew Berkman 0429 128 637