Three questions


NZ Trucking Association receives numbers of calls on a daily basis with questions ranging from minor to major.

Making the right or wrong choices can often make or break you. Knowledge is power when it comes to your business.

This column is designed to answer some of those questions and I invite you to write in or call us with yours. The most stupid questions are the ones that never get asked.

Our Association is made up of fully experienced staff, knowledgeable CEO and highly experienced board members that own, or have owned and operated their own transport related businesses. Our regular contacts consist of Police and the CVIU, all government agencies, local and national council bodies, health and safety experts and so on.

Call us on 0800 338 338 or email us at

Three questions that were asked this week:

Q: What if my truck has a special type of seat belt?

My truck is fitted with seat belts; they are annoying and interfere with my driving

, so I always believed that it was better to leave it off. I sometimes sneak a nap in the sleeper cab when my codriver continues the run. I explained this to the CVIU, but I was fined $150. Can I fight it?

A: Sorry, but any vehicle that is fitted with any type of seat belt arrangement, must be worn at all times when being driven on any public road. Truck drivers are not exempt from this ruling. NZTA states that wearing one can increase your survival rate by 40 percent if you are involved in an accident.

Anyone travelling in the vehicle must also wear a seat belt, sneaking a nap is definitely not allowed and is extremely dangerous to the person sitting in front of the sleeper. You are not just risking your own life but that of your codriver.

NZ Trucking Q: I keep a good logbook, so why was I penalised?

I operate a busy schedule and usually update my log book when. I get the time. I always make sure I have it done by the end of the day. I try to do things correctly and havenbeen in trouble before over this.

I was on my way back to the yard when the Police pulled me over for a routine stop. Everything was fine until they asked for my logbook. I started to finish filling it in and was abruptly stopped from doing so. I explained my day had been very busy but the officer wouldnlisten. I think I was treated unfairly. I received a $150 penalty. Should the police have given me time to finish filling it in?

A: Log books must be filled in as you go stop by stop, job by job. The Police do not have to give you time to fill it in nor are they allowed to. It is the law that this must be produced complete up to the time you were stopped. You were lucky that the fine was only $150.

Some drivers decide not to produce their logbook at all! Usually because they do not want to show the officer exactly what they have been doing. However, all the driver is doing is delaying the inevitable. The Police are able to demand the log book or your hours and activity from your employer. This carries a heavier penalty and 35 demerit points.

Donever make this worse if asked to show it, even if it has omissions, it is better for you to comply from the outset.

Q: Idone this for years, so why was I of Service’?

After operating for the last two years doing the same delivery run, no different than usual, I was stopped by Police and given a fine.

I had been driving straight for three hours when I stopped for my usual five minute toilet break, I then travelled for a further hour and then took another stop to refuel for ten minutes after which I continued on for another 2.5 hours. I had been picking at my lunch box along the way.

I wasnat all concerned to be pulled over at a random Police stop and gulped down the last of my lunch just as he approached.

The officer pointed out, that for one itan offence to be eating and drinking in the manner I was, because it was distracting me from my driving. I had swerved when I reached for my water bottle. He let me off with a warning on that count.

After answering his questions as honestly as possible, he asked me to pull over into a parking space where he issued me with an of Service Order’. I had never heard of this before but he made sure I had been parked up for at least 30 minutes, even though he knew I would miss the ferry. On top of that I received an infringement notice. Was this correct?

A: Yes. It is an offence to drive a commercial vehicle for more than 5.5 hours in any one period, without the legally required breaks. Your stops were not long enough. You should have had at least a 30 min break.

If you continue this run without the correct breaks, you will risk further penalties of up to $2,000 and a disqualification of up to one month.

It is a good deterrent, as tired drivers are the cause of many fatal accidents on the roads each year. You not only place yourself at risk, but everyone else who uses the roads too.

It is also true that eating and drinking whilst driving is an offence if it causes you to become distracted, swerve or act erratically.

Right now thousands of businesses in NZ could spare themselves the heartbreak of losing thousands of dollars in avoidable penalties, all because of a lack of knowledge. Most of our members join purely for the information they receive from us.

paper writer