Driver Knowledge Tests

Driver work time rules

Work time rules are enforced to help drivers manage fatigue. Driving is a tiring occupation and falling asleep at the wheel can be catastrophic. The work time rules state maximum times you can work and minimum rest periods in ideal conditions. If you are fatigued, you should not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle. Some vehicles, such as company cars and motorbikes, are not fatigue-regulated, i.e. the work time rules do not apply to them.

What is work time?

If you drive a fatigue-regulated vehicle work time relates to any time you are not resting. Work time is not just the time you spend driving. It includes time spent working on tasks related to the operation of the vehicle, such as:

  • Being in the driver’s seat while the engine is running
  • Instructing or supervising the driver of the vehicle
  • Loading and unloading the vehicle
  • Inspecting, servicing or repairing the vehicle
  • Cleaning or refuelling the vehicle
  • Inspecting or attending to the load on a vehicle
  • Recording information (e.g. filling in log books)
  • Performing marketing and administration tasks related to the vehicle, including arranging passenger transport and canvassing for orders.

When you record work time it’s always rounded up to the nearest 15 minutes.

What is rest time?

All other time is counted as rest time. Rest time includes driving to and from your depot in your private vehicle. When you record rest time it’s always rounded down to the nearest 15 minutes.

What are the options for work and rest time?

Industry has the option of operating under three fatigue management schemes.

  1. Standard hours
  2. Basic fatigue management
  3. Advanced fatigue management

Each option has different levels of flexibility – the more flexible the scheme, the more risks have to be managed through accreditation schemes. It’s undeniably complex compared to, say, the New Zealand or UK way of doing it, so to understand what the options are, choose your option from the tables below.

Standard hours

Solo drivers

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
5 ½ hours 5 ¼ hours work time 15 continuous minutes rest time
8 hours 7 ½ hours work time 30 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
11 hours 10 hours work time 60 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
24 hours 12 hours work time 7 continuous hours stationary rest time*
7 days 72 hours work time 24 continuous hours stationary rest time
14 days 144 hours work time 2 x night rest breaks** and 2 x night rest breaks taken on consecutive days

*Stationary rest time: time a driver spends out of a heavy vehicle or in an approved sleeper berth of a stationary heavy vehicle.

**Night rest breaks: 7 hours’ continuous stationary rest time taken between the 10pm until 8am the following day using the time zone of the base of the driver, or a 24-hour continuous stationary rest break.

Solo drivers (bus and coach sector only)

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
5 1/2 hours 5 1/4 hours work time 15 continuous minutes rest time
8 hours 7 1/2 hours work time 30 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
11 hours 10 hours work time 60 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
24 hours 12 hours work time 7 continuous hours stationary rest time*
7 days 6 x night rest breaks**
28 days 288 hours work time 4 x 24 hours continuous hours stationary rest time

*Stationary rest time: time a driver spends out of a heavy vehicle or in an approved sleeper berth of a stationary heavy vehicle. 

**Night rest breaks: 7 hours’ continuous stationary rest time taken between the 10pm until 8am the following day using the time zone of the base of the driver, or a 24-hour continuous stationary rest break.

Two-up drivers

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
5 1/2 hours 5 1/4 hours work time 15 continuous minutes rest time
8 hours 7 1/2 hours work time 30 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
11 hours 10 hours work time 60 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
24 hours 12 hours work time 5 continuous hours stationary rest time* or 5 hours continuous rest time in an approved sleeper berth while the vehicle is moving
52 hours 10 continuous hours stationary rest time
7 days 60 hours work time 24 continuous hours stationary rest time and 24 hours stationary rest time in blocks of at least 7 continuous hours of stationary rest time
14 days 120 hours work time 2 x night rest breaks** and 2 x night rest breaks taken on consecutive days

*Stationary rest time: time a driver spends out of a heavy vehicle or in an approved sleeper berth of a stationary heavy vehicle. 

**Night rest breaks: 7 hours’ continuous stationary rest time taken between the 10pm until 8am the following day using the time zone of the base of the driver, or a 24-hour continuous stationary rest break.

Basic fatigue management

Solo drivers

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
6 ¼ hours 6 hours work time 15 continuous minutes rest time
9 hours 8 1/2 hours work time 30 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
12 hours 11 hours work time 60 minutes rest time in blocks of 15 continuous minutes
24 hours 14 hours work time 7 continuous hours stationary rest time*
7 days

 

36 hours long/night work time** No limit has been set
14 days

 

144 hours work time

 

24 continuous hours stationary rest time taken after no more than 84 hours work time and 24 continuous hours stationary rest time and 2 x night rest breaks*** and 2 x night rest breaks taken on consecutive days.

*Stationary rest time: time a driver spends out of a regulated heavy vehicle or in an approved sleeper berth of a stationary regulated heavy vehicle. 

**Long/night work time: work time in excess of 12 hours in a 24-hour period or any work time between midnight and 6 am (or the equivalent hours in the time zone of the base of a driver).

***Night rest breaks: 7 hours’ continuous stationary rest time taken between the 10pm until 8am the following day using the time zone of the base of the driver, or a 24-hour continuous stationary rest break.

 

Two-up drivers

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
24 hours 14 hours work time  No limit has been set
82 hours  No limit has been set 10 continuous hours stationary rest time
7 days 70 hours work time 24 continuous hours stationary rest time and 24 hours stationary rest time in blocks of at least 7 continuous hours of stationary rest time
14 days 140 hours work time 4 night rest breaks**

*Stationary rest time is the time a driver spends out of a regulated heavy vehicle or in an approved sleeper berth of a stationary regulated heavy vehicle.
**Night rest breaks are 7 continuous hours stationary rest time taken between the hours of 10pm on a day and 8am on the next day (using the time zone of the base of the driver) or a 24 continuous hours stationary rest break.

Advanced fatigue management

TIME WORK REST
In any period of… A driver must not work for more than a maximum of… And must have the rest of that period off work with at least a minimum rest break of…
24 hours 15 1/2 hours work time 7 continuous hours of stationary rest time
14 days (366 hours) 154 hours work time 30 continuous hours’ stationary rest time that includes the periods 12am to 6am on a day and 12am
to 6am on the following day, using the timezone of the driver’s base
28 days 288 hours work time

The driver’s base is the place where they usually work from.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

Posted in Advice
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