Heavy vehicles / Safety / Fatigue

Reducing the impacts of fatigue on our roads.


Fatigue is when you feel sleepy, physically or mentally tired, weary or drowsy, exhausted and/or lacking in energy.

The main causes of fatigue or drowsy driving are too little sleep, driving at times when you would normally be asleep and/or working or being awake for very long hours.

In general terms, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) specifies that:

  • a person must not drive a heavy vehicle on a road while impaired by fatigue
  • managing driver fatigue is a shared responsibility by all parties in the chain
  • parties must take all reasonable steps to ensure a person does not drive the heavy vehicle on a road while impaired by fatigue.

Fatigue legal obligations have four major sections under the HVNL:

  • chain of responsibility
  • work and rest hours 
  • work diaries 
  • fatigue management accreditation schemes – BFM and AFM.

More information is available on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator  (NHVR) website.


The Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue reforms, introduced in September 2008, have helped reduce the road toll. These reforms have been carried over into the HVNL that started in February 2013.

Enforcement agencies, drivers and many companies have effective fatigue management policies and practices in place. However, there are still indications that fatigue is a major risk for heavy vehicle drivers.

National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Schemes

Information on National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) is available on the NHVR website.

Last Updated: 15/11/2018