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How fleet management can help protect your team from driver fatigue

By Verizon Connect Team November 8, 2022

Driver fatigue "is a common factor in a large proportion of road crashes (range 10- 20%)

According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), 'driver fatigue or drowsy driving is a safety hazard in the road transport industry' (1). A few causes of fatigue are: Not getting enough sleep, driving at night, working or being awake for long periods of time. It is important to be aware about the signs of fatigue, and technology such as telematics, can help to address driver fatigue (2).

Driver fatigue "is a common factor in a large proportion of road crashes (range 10_20%)"(3).  Moreover, such crashes "are 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury"(4), with particular incidence on long distance journeys, which are very common for heavy vehicles in the road transport or passenger sector.

In particular, driver fatigue is four times more likely to contribute to impairment than drugs or alcohol(5). This is particularly true for long distance journeys, which are very common for heavy vehicles in the road or passenger transport sector.

More common causes of driver fatigue 

Driver fatigue, in particular, is associated with both reduced ability and motivation to drive and perform activities, and the most common causes are: "lack of sleep or poor sleep, internal body clock, working time, monotonous tasks and individual characteristics, including medical conditions"(6). 

As we know, on long journeys, both in freight and passenger transport, driving can become monotonous and can be tiring. This is why we will need to keep a close eye on driving hours and rest periods so that our drivers are in a better position to carry out their day safely and in compliance with Australian laws and telematics can help to remotely monitor drivers' time and rest periods with accuracy and in near-real time.

Signs of driver fatigue

According to the NHVR, these are the most common signs of driver fatigue. If your driver experiences some of them it is time to take a break (7): 

Signs of driver fatigue 

Source: NHVR

In your body

In your vehicle

  • A lack of alertness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Making more mistakes than usual
  • Drowsiness, falling asleep or micro-sleeps
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • Not feeling refreshed after a sleep
  • Excessive head nodding or yawning
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood changes
  • Changes to personal health or fitness
  • Near miss or incident
  • Not keeping in a single lane
  • Not maintaining a constant speed
  • Overshooting a sign or line
  • Poor gear changes

Source: NHVR

Australian government’s actions to tackle driver fatigue

To tackle driver fatigue, the Australian government, through the NHVR, boosted national heavy vehicle fatigue laws that can help minimize road fatalities due to driver fatigue. 

The core of all these laws are based on the fact that : “a driver must not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while impaired by fatigue” (8).

According to the NHVR, these are the fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles (9):

    • a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of over 12t
    • a combination when the total of the GVM is over 12t
    • buses with a GVM over 4.5t fitted to carry more than 12 adults (including the driver)
    • a truck, or a combination including a truck, with a GVM of over 12t with a machine or implement attached.

Also, these laws cover all aspects of work and rest relating to heavy vehicles including (10): 

-Chain of responsibility:  everyone who works with heavy vehicles – from the business that employs a driver to the place where goods are delivered – is accountable for safety. 

-Counting time:  work time and rest time has to be counted with accuracy and being available for the Heavy Vehicle National regulator.

-Fatigue management exemptions: enable operators and drivers to apply for work and rest hours, work diary and record keeping exemptions if they cannot reasonably work under the legislated fatigue management requirements.

-Record keeping requirements: accurate information for drivers like the driver’s name, license number and contact details or the total of each driver’s work and rest times for each day and each week and more detailed information.

-Work and rest hours: drivers must comply with certain maximum work and minimum rest limits operating under standard hours, Basic Fatigue Management (BFM), or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM).

-Work diary:  is evidence that a driver’s work and rest hours are compliant with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and that their fatigue is being managed.

Also, the NHVR stated that  there are some heavy vehicles which are not classified as fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles like: 


-Motor vehicles to primarily operate as a machine or implement a plant such as:  agricultural machinery, bulldozers, tractors, etc.

-Motorhomes specifically modified for residential purposes (not just built with a sleeper berth).

How technology can help mitigate the risk of driver fatigue and streamline compliance

Fleet managers face daily challenges to help protect their teams and their vehicles.

One of these challenges is the lack of visibility of paper-based driver compliance, making planning difficult due to not having a near-real time overview of driver hours, rest periods and being able to act to help protect their team and mitigate the risk of driver fatigue. 

Also, drivers are so focused on their tasks that they can forget to take breaks, so, with this advanced fleet management technology and monitoring remotely their activity with ease, you can have a clear overview of driving times and rest periods and take quick action to help protect your drivers and manage compliance with the NHVR law.

Let’s dive into some benefits for fleet managers to use advanced fleet management solution: 


Access to driver’s status and location to help simplify compliance

Access the status and location of your equipment in near real-time. Monitor all your fleet operations remotely and, in the event of any eventuality act immediately to send the help your team needs.  Also, monitor excessive driving hours or failure to comply with legally required breaks to help mitigate the risks of driver fatigue.


Monitor driving times 

Keep track of your team's driving hours. Know, in near real-time, how many hours your drivers have left to meet the maximum number of driving hours to help reduce possible infringements.

Act quickly to protect your team from driver fatigue, streamline compliance with the law and help avoid large fines and possible immobilization of your vehicles. As we know, fines for driving time infringements are common and can be costly.


Control rest periods

As we have seen, a large proportion of accidents in heavy vehicles are the result of fatigue. Fleet managers should therefore always bear this in mind, so that, just as they monitor excessive driving hours, they check that the breaks needed to carry out their activities in the best conditions are carried out thoroughly. 

Monitor your drivers' break times, make sure they know when to return to work. In the event that someone in your team is running afoul of the law, you will be alerted and can contact them immediately to help them comply with breaks and not unnecessarily jeopardize their safety. 

Say goodbye to paper and say hello to quick access to your fleet data

Maintaining accurate records of your drivers’ and vehicles’ activity is difficult and time consuming. With the help of an advanced fleet management solution you will have quick access to all your fleet data because it is a paperless solution and you can save time or delays because you do not need the drivers to pass the forms to the fleet managers; with this solution this is made automatically anytime, anywhere. 

Fleet technology providers like Verizon Connect enable businesses to help boost safety and simplify compliance. Currently, Verizon Connect works with Logmaster to help provide our customers with:

-Driving/working/resting hours: Recording and monitoring driving and rest time under national and state level rule sets to help boost safety and manage compliance for your drivers and businesses. 

-DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report): Pre and post journey vehicle checks to help detect any defect that must be inspected and addressed before the vehicle is used.

-License renewal reminders: Monitor driver’s license expiry dates and help anticipate to renew them and maintain the workflow and 

-Driver Declaration: Pre-journey fitness for work declarations

-Incident Reporting: Collect information in the event of a vehicle related incident to help clarify event circumstances, as well as to protect your drivers, vehicles and business.

-Mass management declaration: Capture manual vehicle mass information to have plenty of visibility of the weight of a heavy vehicle and how it is loaded to help manage compliance with the regulations of the NHVR.

Choose an advanced fleet management solution to help protect your drivers and help boost compliance

Australian businesses with heavy vehicles regulated by NHVR would have a great ally in an advanced fleet management solution which can help provide visibility into driver fatigue, can help protect their drivers, can help simplify compliance and reduce paperwork with a digitized, innovative solution with plenty of access to your fleet activity anytime, anywhere. 

See it in action, get your free demo








Verizon Connect Team

The telematics industry is moving at a fast pace. With new developments, use cases and feature sets emerging every day, it can be challenging to make the right decision for your fleet business. Verizon Connect Staff is conceptualized to be a partner for your business and help you make smart choices based on useful content.

Tags: Safety

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