This from a retained firefighter with Fire and Rescue NSW:
As a driver of an emergency vehicle over 12t am I exempt from having to make entry’s in a heavy vehicle log book/work diary. I understand the current rules in relation to 100km from base station etc, but what if we are for example returning from a task force greater than 100km away. If we are returning we are no longer ‘responding’ so would this then make us exempt?
Heavy vehicle laws are now national. The primary law is the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) which is incorporated into each state and territory’s laws for example by the Heavy Vehicle (Adoption of National Law) Act 2013 (NSW). The Heavy Vehicle National Law has multiple provisions dealing with fatigue management including the need to keep a log book of driving and rest times.
A motor vehicle with a GVM of more than 12t is a ‘fatigue-related heavy vehicle’ (Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) s 7. The driver of a fatigue-related heavy vehicle, working within 100km of his or her base, is engaged in 100km work (s 289). In NSW a driver engaged in 100km work is not required to ‘to keep a national driver work diary’. This exemption applies until 9 February 2016 (New South Wales Work Diary Exemption for 100km Work Under Basic Fatigue Management or Advanced Fatigue Management (Notice) 2014 (No. 1)).
But, ask my correspondent, what if we are for example returning from a task force greater than 100km away? The answer is also find in the Heavy Vehicle National Law that has an emergency services exemption. Section 356 says:
(1) A person who is acting for an emergency service and who has time-critical duties on the way to, or during, an emergency is exempted in the course of carrying out the duties from compliance with Division 2.
(2) A person who is acting for an emergency service and who is returning from attending an emergency is exempted from compliance with Division 2 if the person reasonably believes the noncompliance does not present an unreasonable danger to other road users.
(3) A person who is acting for an emergency service is exempted from compliance with Division 2 under subsection (1) or (2) only if, at the relevant time, the person complies with any guidelines regarding the management of fatigue issued by or on behalf of the emergency service or an authority responsible for oversight of the emergency service.
Section 356 lies within Division 8 of Part 6.4 ‘Requirements about record keeping’. Division 2 of Part 6.4 contains the ‘Work diary requirements’. In short a member of the emergency services is exempt from the requirement to maintain a work diary provided they are complying the emergency services, in this case Fire and Rescue NSW’s, own fatigue management arrangements.
(For the emergency services exemption from the need to comply with the ‘Requirements relating to work time and rest time’ (Part 6.3) see s 265. The exemption in s 265 is in the same terms as the exemption in s 356, above).