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Australia proposes work-rest rules for drivers

The Australian National Road Transport Commission has proposed work-rest rules for truck and bus drivers. Using a proposed three-tier system, the most stringent rules will apply to companies that have no fatigue management programs; the second tier allows limited flexibility in return for certain fatigue management practices. The top (most lenient) tier applies to companies with comprehensive fatigue management systems in place.

The Australians have been leading the way to replace current hours-of-service regulations (created in the early 1900s) with rules more suited to the 24/7 world, according to Circadian Technologies, Inc. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada are carefully monitoring Australia's progress, because, like Australia, both countries face high driver non-compliance rates, industry resistance to regulatory reform, and scientific data showing that existing regulations do little to prevent fatigue-related crashes.

A number of trucking companies in the U.S. are conducting risk assessments to allow truck managers and dispatchers to build work schedules according to their areas of greatest risk, according to Dr. Martin Moore-Ede of CTI. Assessments could allow for creative approaches to reduce dependence on inflexible hours-of-service regulations.

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