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Obligations to drivers who are employed by others

April 6, 2017

One of our subscribers to CoR Adviser recently posed a question about driver fatigue, even though they don’t own or operate any heavy vehicles themselves.

They act as a consignor in the supply chain and run a dispatch warehouse. In their daily operations they interact and work with a lot of drivers who are not their employees.

Because of these regular interactions, they are becoming quite savvy at identifying when drives are fatigued. So they enquired of our expert team about what was their general chain of responsibility (CoR) obligation to these drivers in relation to fatigue?

The HNVL imposes a duty on all parties in the Chain for a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not drive the vehicle while that person is impaired by fatigue. If you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you could be held legally liable for breaches of road transport laws even though you do not drive a heavy vehicle.

Therefore, it is not relevant whether these drivers are employed by you given you are working with them on a transport-related task.

The way in which a party can satisfy its CoR obligations depends on the operational and procedural aspects of your business, so it is necessary for you to work out within your business what measures are needed.

Schedules and rest periods

Some useful measures that should be adopted include ensuring that drivers are given schedules with specified rest periods, training all relevant staff to identify signs of fatigue, and verifying (to the greatest extent possible) that any regular road operators you use have compliance measures in place to prevent their drivers driving a vehicle while impaired by fatigue.

If you need additional help about meeting your CoR obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), around the topics of driver fatigue, mass and dimensions, speeding and load restraint, subscribe today to CoR Adviser.

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