Heavy vehicle driver fatigue and work diaries

On 10 February 2014, the Heavy Vehicle National Regulator (NHVR) introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law 2012—which includes new laws for drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles.

These laws cover:

  • the work and rest hours of drivers
  • fatigue management accreditation schemes
  • chain of responsibility
  • the use of work diaries.

What is driver fatigue?

Driver fatigue is when your ability to drive safely is reduced by being physically or mentally tired.

The main causes of driver fatigue—such as being sleepy or drowsy—include:

  • not getting enough sleep
  • driving at night—when you would normally be asleep
  • working or being awake for long periods of time.

Fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles

Fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles include:

  • vehicles or combinations with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) over 12t
  • trucks, or combinations including trucks, with a GVM over 12t—with a machine or implement attached
  • buses over 4.5t with a seating capacity of more than 12 adults—including the driver.

Some heavy vehicles meeting these requirements may not be classed as a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle—such as trams, agricultural machinery, bulldozers, tractors, and motor homes modified for residential purposes.

Work diaries

You—as the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle—must complete and carry a national driver work diary to record your work and rest times when you drive:

  • in areas over 100km—in a straight line—from your base location
  • under fatigue management accreditation—such as the basic fatigue management (BFM) or advanced fatigue management (AFM) programs
  • under a work and rest hours exemption.

Your base location is where you normally work and receive instructions. This may be the garage address of the vehicle, where the business is operated, or a depot or site.

When you record an entry in your work diary, you need to carry that diary with you for at least 28 days—from the entry’s date.

Buying a diary

Before you start working more than 100km from your base location, you must have a work diary.

You can buy a work diary for $25 (including GST) from transport and motoring customer service centres, QGAP offices and some regional police stations.

Existing work diaries

You will need to buy a new work diary if your existing work diary was issued before 10 February 2014.

Penalties and demerit points

You may be fined and accumulate demerit points if you breach work diary, rest break or hours of driving requirements—enforced by the Queensland Police Service and Department of Transport and Main Roads inspectors.


Drivers who work standard hours may be eligible for fatigue management exemptions—including work diary, work/rest hours, and record keeping exemptions.

If you have a current fatigue management exemption, it will remain current until it expires, or is amended, suspended or cancelled.

The NHVR has issued the Queensland Work Diary Exemption (Notice) 2014 (No. 1) (PDF, 410KB). The Notice eliminates the need to carry and complete a work diary for work completed within a 160km radius of a driver’s base location, and only exempts:

  • primary producers in Queensland who drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for the purposes of primary production
  • someone who drives a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle for a primary producer.

Apply for a fatigue management exemption through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

More information

You can contact the NHVR on 1300 696 487 for more information on national driver work diary requirements.