Industry News

Safe-T-Cam warning ahead of end to daylight saving

A peak body is advising operators and truckies to stamp all work diary yellow copies dated April 7 with a ‘Daylight Saving Ends’ note.

The call from the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) comes after an Adelaide truckie copped a surprise court summons and legal bill after an SA Safe-T-Cam system failed to allow for clocks turning back on April 2, 2023.

SARTA executive director Steve Shearer told his members he “strongly recommends” annotating the paperwork to safeguard against finding yourself on the receiving end of something similar.

As reported by Big Rigs last month, Adelaide-based Kym Ottey was wrongly charged with recording false or misleading entry after allegedly travelling between Safe-T-Cam sites in less than the allowable time.

All charges were later dropped when the regulator realised its daylight savings error, but not until an anxious Ottey was forced to hire a lawyer after the summons arrived, just three weeks before the scheduled court date.

Ottey was also left out of pocket with the NHVR only being ordered to pay a portion of his costs.

“So, the driver and operator were left with legal fees as well as the admin costs of the time burnt in defending themselves against the NHVR’s errors,” Shearer told SARTA members.

“This is another general HV enforcement policy point that needs to be fixed. If agencies, be it police or the NHVR, make obvious errors and lay false charges and impose not only stress but also cost, often very significant cost, on the drivers and operators, then those agencies should be required to pay all of those costs because it was their error(s) that generated the costs. 

“That might also serve as a good incentive for agencies to be absolutely thorough and get it right. 

“Picking up the phone and discussing the apparent breach would also be a prudent thing to do before laying charges.”

Shearer said the case appeared to highlight what he felt were “systemic errors” within the NHVR systems and procedures.

He said it was the fourth raised over the last 5-6 years in which the regulator failed regarding applying the driver’s homebase time zone and daylight-saving settings to the entire journey in the work diary.

“It was also obvious that hundreds or even thousands of truck drivers would have been travelling between two Safe-T-Cam cameras somewhere in the network at the time that daylight savings ended and we wanted to know how many other drivers had been erroneously charged or fined. 

“This was not about blame or finger-pointing. It was utterly focussed on addressing what appeared to be systemic failures within the system and resolving them for everyone’s benefit, including the NHVR’s.”

Shearer said he subsequently had several meetings with the NHVR which resulted in several positive outcomes.

Those included the regulator instituting some “useful procedural changes”, which include reviewing the very limited information in Notices to Produce. 

“We pointed out that of course the operator in this case said nothing about daylight saving’s impact when they responded to the Notice to Produce because the NHVR doesn’t advise the operator what the suspected issue is. 

“Had that been done, this case would have been nipped in the bud and so too might many other cases, so the NHVR is revisiting the notices.”

Shearer said SARTA is also pursuing several aspects of precisely how the Safe-T-Cam system operates and the format and content of the reports it issues.

“The point about all this is that humans in government and industry do make errors, generally not intentionally, and systems, which are designed by humans, can also fail in certain circumstances. 

“Our problem is that we in industry get fined or prosecuted for our errors, but officials don’t.”

Raymond Hassall, NHVR executive director statutory compliance, told Big Rigs that the NHVR had not received any complaints from other drivers regarding Safe-T-Cam fines from last year.

“We undertook an extensive search of our complaints system, Safe-T-Cam records and offence management data and found no evidence to support the claim of systemic failure,” Hassall said.

“We have also revised our internal procedures and outgoing communication to ensure this doesn’t occur when daylight savings concludes.”

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The post Safe-T-Cam warning ahead of end to daylight saving appeared first on Big Rigs.

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