This week’s announcement by National Cabinet to allow service centres and truck stops to remain open for heavy vehicle drivers has been welcomed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and industry.
NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto, said that a set of standard protocols would support both businesses and drivers to stay safe through this period.
“For road freight to move safely, truck driver health and fatigue needs to be managed with regular breaks and facilities for truck drivers to eat, shower, use restrooms, refuel and rest comfortably before resuming their work,” said Petroccitto.
“These sensible guidelines will help to keep facilities open by prioritising the health and safety of both staff and drivers as they carry out the incredibly important roles they are playing in the midst of this crisis.
“Things like properly cleaning and sanitising showers and toilets, spacing out seating, minimising interactions between staff and drivers and removing self-serve options can go a long way to slowing down the spread of the coronavirus.
“For drivers, things like washing hands on your way in and out, not staying longer than an hour and practicing social distancing will support these facilities to remain open.
“We understand that, given the economic circumstances, not all stations will be able to stay open. I encourage drivers if in doubt to call ahead to check,” he said. “These changes will come into effect immediately.”
The following applies to businesses operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations:
- These facilities will be authorised to continue providing services to heavy vehicle drivers in need of food, showers, restrooms and a place to break from driving to manage their fatigue.
- This exemption is subject to the service station, service centre, road house or similar facility implementing additional protocols provide appropriate social distancing and hygiene arrangements for these facilities.
- The facility will remain closed to all other patrons who are not part of the heavy vehicle supply chain.
The NHVR has implemented a number of recent changes to assist drivers during the coronavirus pandemic, including waiving amenity restriction on all curfew permits, extending the time limit drivers may use a supplementary work diary record and temporary changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) medical and face-to-face audit requirements.