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LTSA proposes adjustments to driving hours regime

LTSA online
A proposal that aims to make logbook systems more straightforward for commercial drivers while at the same time still tackling the issue of driver fatigue has been released by the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) for discussion.

LTSA’s general manager policy, Alan Woodside, said that the proposed policy introduces some new elements to the driving hours and logbook regime although driving hours will be retained as a base for administering the system.

Under the proposal, the number of hours commercial drivers drive and work has not been altered but driving and on-duty have been combined into a category called “work time” and are no longer distinguishable.

“This will help simplify the requirements,” Mr Woodside said.

It is proposed that within a 24-hour period a driver can work a maximum of 13 hours and must have at least 11 hours rest (made up of two half-hour rests – taken after every six hours work – and a continuous break of 10 hours). The 24-hour period will be reset after each ten-hour rest period. Nothing changes with regard to the 24 hours rest required after 66 hours of working time.

A minor change has been made to vehicle types meaning the vehicle weight threshold is the same as that applying to driver licensing classes.

Mr Woodside said that the cost of compliance using conventional logbooks was acknowledged but the review found that operators would face far greater costs if alternatives such as electronic logbooks were made mandatory. For that reason, the status quo remains with regard to tracking driving hours.

“There will be flexibility built into the proposed new system to allow good operators to use other systems if they want to,” Mr Woodside said.

To be fairer to operators who travel smaller distances, the LTSA is proposing that drivers of goods service and tow trucks operating within a 50km radius will be exempt from logbooks.

The greatest change in the review involves penalties. If an offence occurs it will fall under one of four grades, instead of just two as previously. The first two grades relate to log book use and would result in drivers being penalised with the issue of infringement notices and driver demerit points.

Any offence falling under the other two grades relate to driving hour breaches. These will continue to be heard in a court, but only the highest level of offending would incur automatic licence disqualification.

The LTSA is urging commercial drivers and industry organisations to take an interest in the preferred policy proposal by making a submission by 19 March 2001. All submissions will be considered before any final policy recommendations are put forward to the government in mid 2001.

Submissions may be made in writing to:
Driving Hours and Logbook Review
Land Transport Safety Authority
PO Box 2840
Wellington

By fax to (04) 494 8608
Or by email to info@ltsa.govt.nz

Copies of the paper can also be requested from the same address, or are available for download from the LTSA’s website at www.ltsa.govt.nz/resources/index3.html

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