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How to respond when asked to exceed work hours

November 16, 2017

Reducing fatigue among heavy vehicle drivers – which has been identified as a major cause of heavy vehicle accidents – is one of the primary purposes of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws.

These laws have been created to deter supply chain partners applying pressure to drivers to meet delivery schedules “no matter what”.

But we continue to hear of owner-operators encountering situations where consignors/consignees ask them to exceed their work hours in order to make a delivery or pick-up time.

What are drivers’ and their transport companies’ responsibilities under the CoR regime in these circumstances – how should drivers respond to these demands? What should consignors/consignees avoid asking drivers to do?

Transport lawyer and Editor-in-Chief of CoR Adviser, Geoff Farnsworth says, as an operator of a road transport business and a driver, your responsibilities include ensuring that rosters and schedules and terms of any consignments do not require drivers to exceed work, rest or speed limits. If you are driving while you are out of hours, you will be in breach of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

“However, if a consignor or consignee is encouraging you to exceed your hours, they too are potentially liable for a CoR breach of the HVNL, as they face an obligation not to encourage drivers to exceed permitted work/rest hours,” Geoff says.

The best response

He adds that although it may be difficult to do, the best way for drivers to respond is to stand your ground and indicate that you are prohibited from exceeding work hours, and that companies that encourage drivers to exceed the permitted work/rest hours drivers will also face liability.

As mentioned previously in CoR Adviser, your contracts with third parties need to reflect your adherence to CoR laws and that you may choose not to work with companies that encourage your business and/or drivers to breach those laws, which include speeding, overloading and mass breaches, as well as driver fatigue.

For more information on CoR laws and how to apply them to your business while dealing with third parties who may or may not share your desire to abide by these laws, subscribe today to CoR Adviser.

The monthly newsletter, written by Geoff and the transport law experts at Holding Redlich, has all the CoR-related information you need, all in the one place and written in plain English.

Each issue has case studies, tips, hints, Q&As, legislation updates, downloadable templates and succinct information to keep you abreast of CoR laws and their upcoming changes in 2018.

Subscribe today to ensure you don’t miss out on any vital updates that could affect your livelihood, regardless of where you sit in the supply chain.