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Personal use exemption extends to AFM and BFM

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Additional flexibility aims to give truck drivers time beyond work

Personal use exemption extends to AFM and BFM
Big news for AFM and BFM truckies

 

The federal government has announced the extension of the personal use exemption, allowing drivers to use their trucks outside work hours.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz says the government has worked with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to extend the Personal Use Exemption for drivers operating under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) as well as Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).

"There are currently more than 2,300 operators utilising the benefits of AFM and BFM," Buchholz says.

"This change will mean drivers operating under BFM and AFM will have an additional hour to use their fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for personal use, which can be utilised during the 24 hour rest break.

"That means that drivers can do things like pop to the shops to restock personal supplies, make it to their sleeping accommodation, fuel up, wash their vehicles or run personal errands without worrying about going over their regulated driving hours.

"It’s a practical change to make life easier for the people that keep Australia moving."

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) welcomes the move saying that the change allows BFM and AFM drivers to use their heavy vehicle for personal activities during their 24-hour continuous stationary rest break, including:

  • stowing or retrieving personal effects from a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
  • cleaning a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
  • refuelling a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle
  • driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for personal reasons (eg visiting a bank or a post office).

ALRTA national president Stephen Marley said that the exemption would benefit BFM and AFM drivers who have the same needs as standard hours drivers when resting away from home.

"Short-distance drivers can usually make it home to access sleeping quarters, meals or washing facilities, as well as their own private vehicle for personal use," Marley says.

"In contrast, long-distance drivers are often forced to rest at inhospitable locations with no amenities whatsoever.

"Uninterrupted sleep, eating well and keeping clean are fundamental to maintaining alertness and vehicle control.

"It is also important to relieve boredom during longer breaks in isolated locations.

"It is pleasing that the NHVR is listening to the needs of drivers in HVNL states and opting for a holistic approach to fatigue management."

ALRTA  notes the NHVR commenced work to establish a Personal Use Exemption for standard hours drivers in response to a 2017 letter from ALRTA.

The personal use exemption for drivers on standard hours was introduced in 2018 and following industry feedback the Regulator has now added the extension to drivers who are eligible for BFM and AFM.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the change is part of the NHVR’s five-week Focus on Fatigue campaign that will include education and compliance operations across Australia in the lead-up to Christmas.

"With the busy holiday period just around the corner it’s timely to remind everyone about the risks of driving fatigued," Petroccitto says.

"We also want to enable flexibility for operators with good safety records through initiatives like AFM and BFM.

"Our most recent Operation Wake Up in April this year intercepted 3,506 vehicles for fatigue checks and found that drivers under BFM and AFM were well above the average compliance rate of 93.3 per cent."

The exemption will apply from today. More information on changes can be found here.

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