Australia’s National Heavy Vehicle Logbook Laws Defined

The laws regulating operators of heavy vehicles in Australia have recently changed. The primary goal of these changes was to reduce accidents caused by driver fatigue.

With the changes have come very specific rules governing work and rest periods and the methods for recording them.

A National Driver Work Diary must now be kept for all drivers who drive over 100km from their home base. Drivers who drive under the 100km limit are not required to keep such a log.

The heavy vehicles requiring this record keeping are trucks with a gross vehicle mass of more than 12 tons. This includes any combination of trucks and trailers that exceed 12 tons. It also includes buses that weigh 4.5 tons or more with a passenger capacity of 12, including the driver.

It does not include vehicles that can’t carry passengers that are built or modified to be used as off road equipment. It also excludes motor homes.

A logbook must be kept if you work under Basic Fatigue Management, Advanced Fatigue Management or exemption hours. This requirement is regardless of whether or not you’re working more than 100km from home base. Also, a log must be kept if your workday is a combination of local and over 100km work.

Other requirements are that you only use one logbook at the time and that you keep the logbook with yourself, not a particular truck, at all times. Additionally, you have to keep your work records with you for 28 days after the record is made.

If, unexpectedly, you find that your workday requires that you work more than 100km from base, start a work record that begins at the start of the day.

Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) don’t have the same time requirements as the other territories and states. If you drive in either of those areas you need to contact the local authorities to find out what their requirements are. The laws in these areas are in addition to the HVNL requirements.

Additionally, if you spend seven days or less in Western Australia or the Northern Territories you must still record your hours in your work log. If you spend more than seven days in either WA or NT you must follow their regulations regarding hours and record keeping.

In the event that you have spent more than seven days in WA or NT and are going to a different area, you must resume your work diary beginning at the end of the last rest break of five or more hours before leaving.

Finally, if you’re stopped on the roadside by an authorized officer, you must be able to present your work diary for their inspection.

While some may view these new regulations as being a burden, the goal of them is to make the roadways safer for both professional heavy vehicle drivers and those who share the road with them.

Ian Watson's delivers the following certificate course related to logbooks and fatigue management:

  • TLIF2010A - Apply fatigue management strategies

  • TLIE3028A - Complete a work diary in the road transport industry

  • TLIF2092A - Demonstrate awareness of chain of responsibility regulations

For more information about these course or to book contact or contact 

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator
Phone: 1300 MYNHVR (1300 696 487)



IAN WATSON'S can help you understand NHV laws

IAN WATSON'S can help you understand NHV laws