In response to the substantial stress heavy vehicle drivers and operators are facing during the COVID-19 crisis, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has reminded drivers that the Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line (HVCRL) is available to assist with resolving safety issues across the Chain of Responsibility (CoR).
“This has been a challenging time for our industry, but we don’t want it made worse by people putting others in danger,” NHVR Chairman Duncan Gay said in a media statement.
“In 2019-20 the HVCRL, received 1,288 calls, resulting in 889 reports that were assessed and investigated by the NHVR or police and transport authorities. Information received about fatigue, loading and mechanical safety represent the most common reports.
“The HVCRL team are ready and willing to assist with resolving safety issues across the supply chain, whether its undue pressure at the depot, the distribution centre or the drop off point.
“The pressure is compounded by the additional requirements around borders, hygiene and mask-wearing that drivers are having to manage.
“We’ve also heard reports that some customers have started extending their payment terms to try and compensate for future losses.
“While these are challenging times for everyone, heavy vehicle operators should not be put under pressure to break the law.
“Road freight is the backbone of our economy and operators have been working day and night for months to ensure supermarket shelves stay stocked and health supplies are getting where they’re needed.
“Now more than ever, it’s critical that all businesses act in good faith to keep our industry safe and Australia moving.”
Mr Gay urges any operators or drivers who are concerned about being asked to sign or perform a contract in breach of CoR laws to call the HVCRL on 1800 931 785.
The NHVR points out that under the Heavy Vehicle National Law it has the power to impose a positive obligation on any party in the CoR to ensure their conduct doesn’t encourage the driver of a heavy vehicle to contravene the law, as well as specifically prohibiting those parties from requiring or entering into a contract with a driver that would encourage the driver to speed, work while fatigued or drive in breach of the driver’s work and rest hours option.