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Long-Haul Heavy Vehicle Drivers: Are you miscalculating the 24 hour period?


Whether you’re just starting out under standard hours or whether you’ve been driving for years and never had the Work Diary Rules explained, it is important to check that you understand how the 24 hour period works: because it is complicated and catching too many drivers out.

Under standard hours, a driver can work a total of 12 hours in any 24 hour period. They must also have a continuous rest break of at least 7 hours. Miscalculating these time periods can lead to criminal charges carrying maximum penalties of over $15,000.

The 24 hour period which can contain only 12 hours of work and must contain a 7 hour rest runs from the end of the last major rest break.

Errors that are often made are:

  • Drivers count the 24 hour period as the 24 hours (from midnight to midnight) on a page of the work diary;
  • Drivers think that the 24 hour period is “reset” by a 7 hour rest break within the 24 hours after a previous 7 hour rest.

Number 2 is a common mistake made by even the most experienced drivers. A second rest does not reset the 24 hour period, it starts a new one, with the two overlapping. This means that if you come off a 7 hour rest, do 10 hours of work (with appropriate short breaks) and the take another 7 hour rest, you can still only do 2 hours of work between the end of that rest and the end of the original 24 hour period.

For example, if you were to start driving at 7am, complete 10 hours of work by 9pm and then rest from 9pm until 4am, you could only drive for 2 hours between 4am and the end of the original 24 hour period at 7am. Then, you could only work for an additional 10 hours between 7am and 4am the next day, as the end of your last 7 hour rest was at 4am 24 hours before.

If you are still unsure, or if you have been charged with a work diary offence, please don’t hesitate to contact Armstrong Legal where we are ready to engage our extensive experience in heavy vehicle matters to assist you.

Image Credit – Vitpho © 123RF.com

Written by Sarah Marinovic on May 14, 2018

Sarah has a strong drive to use her legal knowledge to help people in times of difficulty. Her goal is to not only achieve the best legal result, but to also ensure that her clients understand each step, and what is required from them to achieve the best results. With her friendly manner she strives to ensure that he client's mind is at ease throughout the process. View Sarah's profile


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