What’s happening?

The Alertness CRC, with the National Transport Commission (NTC), is conducting field research to analyse the impacts of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) on work and rest hours on heavy vehicle driver fatigue. The research will measure sleeping patterns, driver drowsiness and driving performance both on the road during real-world work shifts and off the road in a laboratory/controlled track setting.

 Why?

Until recently, we haven’t known enough about how the current laws are impacting heavy vehicle driver fatigue and related road safety risks, as we didn’t have the scientific tools to measure this impact. With the development of improved alertness monitoring devices, we now have the capability to undertake research to objectively measure drivers’ alertness across a work schedule, to monitor driving impairment indicators, and to measure the quality and quantity of drivers’ sleep during minimum rest periods, so enabling us to provide quality data and evidenced guidance in support of any future reforms.

 Who might be interested in the project?

Any heavy vehicle operator or driver who is interested in supporting naturalistic driving research to better understand driver fatigue in the industry, and who is interested in championing evidence-based law reform.

Drivers with a heavy vehicle truck licence who are fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle drivers under the HVNL. You should undertake either local work or long-distance driving (minimum 30 hours a week driving), and must work either standard hours or Basic Fatigue Management (BFM).

Heavy Vehicle Operators, including BFM operators, whose drivers can be made available. Operators of all sizes, including owner-operators, and operators across all industry sectors, including livestock and dairy, are welcome to participate.

What will research involve?

Phase 1 is an on-road field trial that will assess drivers’ alertness levels, sleep, and driving impairments in naturalistic/real-life driving conditions. Phase 2 will include a controlled study in a laboratory and on the open road using an instrumented vehicle that will evaluate how simulated shift patterns, and other features of heavy vehicle work schedules allowed under the HVNL (e.g. placement of sleep and work periods), impact drivers’ alertness levels and driving performance.

We are also interested in interviewing selected drivers to better understand their experiences under HVNL and the operational considerations of the research.

 If you are interested in contributing to this research,

or would like to find out more, please contact

med-crc-drivealert@monash.edu