Counting time accurately is crucial for managing driver fatigue and maintaining compliance with Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The HVNL prescribes fatigue management requirements for heavy vehicle drivers and operators, including the number of hours drivers can legally work in a given period of time. Non-compliance with these requirements can lead to serious consequences and financial penalties. To ensure compliance with fatigue management laws, it’s essential to understand the correct way to count time. In this article, we’ll aim to clarify how to do this and show how Hubfleet makes this easy for drivers.
How is time counted?
HVNL requires that:
- For periods of time less than 24 hours, time is counted forward from the end of a rest break.
- For periods of time greater than 24 hours, time is counted forward from the end of a relevant major rest break (see below).
What is a relevant major rest break?
When applied to a 24-hour period, a relevant major rest break is the longest uninterrupted rest break required for your specified ruleset. You start counting the 24-hour period from the end of this rest break. The required duration of the rest break depends on your ruleset (see below):
- Standard Hours solo: 7+ continuous hours.
- Standard Hours two-up: 5+ continuous hours.
- Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) solo: 7+ continuous hours (or 6 hours if a split rest break has been taken).
- Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) two-up: this option does not require a major rest break in a 24 hour period, so 24-hour periods can be counted forward from the end of any rest break.
- Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM): the relevant major rest break per the AFM certificate.
What is a 24-hour period?
A 24-hour period is the period of 24 hours following the end of a relevant major rest break. It’s important to note that taking another relevant major rest break within the initial 24-hour period will create an additional 24-hour period, it does not restart or reset the initial 24-hour period. You must comply with the work and rest requirements (set by your specified ruleset) of both 24-hour periods. Consider the scenario below:
A driver starts work at 8am and works for 10 hours in an 11-hour period, finishing at 7pm. They have a 7-hour rest and start work again at 3am the next day. Mistakenly thinking their 24-hour period has reset, they forget to add the hours between 3am and 8am to their previous day’s total. Therefore, they have worked 15 hours since the initial 24-hour period which started at 8am the previous day. This would be considered a critical breach and could potentially result in a fine of over $10k and demerit points.
To make things more complicated, drivers must also keep track of their work and rest requirements for numerous other periods, such as 7-day, 14-day and 28-day, at the same time. It’s easy to see how honest mistakes get made!
Hubfleet to the rescue
The Hubfleet EWD makes it easy for drivers to avoid these mistakes. A dashboard “card” displays each period of 24-hours or longer in the driver’s ruleset. For example, below is a 24-hour card for a driver working under the BFM Solo ruleset.
The information on this card is extremely helpful to drivers in staying compliant with their work and rest requirements. In the above example, the driver has a 24-hour period that started at 19:36 on June 5th and ends 24 hours later. In this period, you can see the driver has worked 13 hours and 25 minutes of an allowable 14 hours, leaving 35 minutes of work available. You can also see that there is 1 hour and 1 minute remaining until the period ends. If the driver is currently resting, the Work Remaining will stay constant at 35 minutes, but the Period Remaining will continue to elapse until the clock reaches 19:36 on June 6th (the end of the period).
The driver can also track their rest requirements. Under BFM Solo rules, a driver must have a 7+ hour continuous rest break in a 24-hour period. In the above example, the card shows the maximum continuous rest the driver has taken during this 24-hour period, which is 7 hours and 3 minutes. Therefore, they have satisfied their rest requirement
. If they have not completed a 7-hour continuous rest break, the time they must start one will be shown here
When can I start my next shift?
The above card also indicates when drivers can start their next shift. We can see that the driver has completed their 7-hour continuous rest break. If they haven’t, they must make sure to do that. Next, we can see the driver has 35 minutes of work left, yet there is 1 hour and 1 minute until the end of the 24-hour period. If the driver recommenced work at this point in time, the Hubfleet app would alert them that they are required to rest after 35 minutes (to not exceed 14 hours). However, if the driver were to rest for a further 26 minutes instead, then there would be 34 minutes left in the Period Remaining. At this point, it would be impossible to exceed the 14 hours of work allowed in the current 24-hour period, so they could start their next shift.
To keep it simple, make sure you’ve completed your 7-hour rest break
and that the Period Remaining
is less than the Work Remaining
or you will probably have to take an extra break at some point during your next shift.