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Land Transport Rule: Work Time and Logbooks 2007

This rule sets out how the limits to the work time hours for a driver of a vehicle that requires a class 2, 3, 4, or 5 licence, or is used in a transport service (other than a rental service), or carries goods for hire or reward, are to be administered. 

Rule versions

  • The ‘Current rule’ will give you the most up-to-date version of the Rule and any amendments made to it. We recommend this as your reference point if you want to read the most current information.
  • The ‘Original rule and amendments’ will give you the very first version of the rule (as it was when it was first created) as well as links to all amendments made to it over time. We recommend this page as your reference page if you want to research the history of the rule.

Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.

Questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.

Land Transport Rules – questions & answers

Work Time and Logbooks Amendment 2010

1. What Rule is being amended?

This amendment Rule will make changes to Land Transport Rule: Work Time and Logbooks Amendment 2007 (the Work Time and Logbooks Rule or ‘the Rule’).

2. When will the amendment Rule come into force?

All the provisions of the amendment Rule will come into force on 1 April 2010. Until that date, the existing requirements in the Work Time and Logbooks Rule will continue to apply.

The amendment makes a minor change to the prescribed form of a logbook, however, logbooks that were approved under the current Rule before 1 April 2010 may continue to be used.

3. What is in the Work Time and Logbooks Rule?

Primary legislation (the Land Transport Act 1998) (the Act) limits the number of hours that can be worked by drivers of heavy vehicles and some commercial light vehicles (such as taxis).The Work Time and Logbooks Rule provides additional detail about how the Act applies; for example, it sets out how the limits to work time hours prescribed in the Act are to be administered and the form of the logbooks that many drivers have to maintain.

4. Who is subject to work time limits?

The Act sets work time limits for:

  • drivers who require a Class 2, 3, 4 or 5 licence to operate a vehicle;
  • vehicles that are, or ought to be, operated under a transport service (other than a rental service);
  • vehicles used to carry goods for hire or reward.

5. Why is this Rule being amended?

The Rule was introduced in October 2007 and marked a new approach to governing ‘driving hours’ and managing the road safety risk of driver fatigue compared with that under the previous legislation (ie, the Transport Act 1962). Some concerns and issues raised subsequently by industry groups and the New Zealand Police were not apparent when the Rule was first drafted, and were not highlighted in submissions on the Rule. The amendment Rule focuses on addressing these concerns and makes changes to the way in which variations of work time requirements are dealt with in particular situations. The amendment Rule also clarifies some aspects of the Rule.

What changes are being made?

Ferry exemption

6. What is the ferry exemption?

The Rule currently provides a ferry exemption that allows drivers whose working day includes a ferry trip of at least one hour to extend their permitted hours, for that day only.

7. What is changing?

The Rule clarifies that it is the actual sailing and docking times of the vessel that need to be recorded in a logbook, not the ferry's scheduled sailing or docking time. A detailed example has been inserted into the Rule explaining how this variation is designed to operate.

Emergency service and essential service drivers

8. What's the difference between emergency services and essential services?

The Police, the NZ Fire Service, any fire brigade, and any ambulance service are defined in the Rule as an emergency service. An emergency service driver is allowed to extend his or her work time hours to attend a “priority call” - where there's an immediate risk to someone's life or health.

Essential services include companies that supply power, water and gas or are involved in restoring access after a road closure. Essential service drivers are permitted to extend their hours, under defined conditions, in order to restore services or restore access.

9. Emergency services rest breaks - what's changing?

The Rule already makes it clear that when a “priority call” extends beyond the prescribed limit for work time in that day, that driver must then take a 10-hour continuous period of rest before undertaking further work governed by work time requirements.

However, the Rule does not specify what should happen when a driver is not able to take a rest break of at least 30 minutes, before the 5½-hour limit for continuous work time is reached, because they have been required to attend a priority call. The amendment makes it clear that the deferred rest break must be taken as soon as is practicable after the priority call is completed.

10. What changes relating to essential service drivers have been made?

The amendment Rule extends the variation to work time hours for essential service drivers to cover other drivers providing warning of a hazard when a road is closed or to which access is restricted, who are controlling traffic, and those working to re-open rail access. Any driver who is called upon urgently by the Police to assist in an accident or incident, for example, by clearing a crash site, will also be included within the definition of essential service drivers.

11. Why add persons controlling traffic or providing hazard warning to the essential services variation?

When road access is cut (for example, by flooding) the role of people controlling traffic or providing hazard warning is to ensure the safety of crew working to restore access and of any motorists who arrive at the scene. The amendment also makes it clear that “restoring” access (eg, clearing a slip) is covered by the variation, rather than just “repair” work. If drivers involved in restoring access are already covered by this variation, it seems sensible to also include staff working alongside them in a safety role.

12. Why are we including drivers working to restore rail access?

Drivers working to restore rail access are also now included in this provision, since they are also expected to work under some urgency in a crisis, in the same way as drivers concerned with clearing a blocked road.

13. Why has the work time variation been extended to cover drivers called out by the Police to assist with clearing a crash site?

Mobile crane operators have advised the NZTA that they (and others, such as those operating vehicle recovery services) are occasionally called out by the Police for road clearance after hours. In doing so, however, they could, potentially, be charged with a breach of the driving hour limits because they are not covered by a work time variation. They can't be described as “under contract” to the Police, so are not covered by the current provisions. The proposed amendment focuses on allowing people who are called out urgently, to assist in an accident or incident, to extend their hours.

14. Why has the Rule been changed to emphasise “risk to persons” as well as to property?

The Rule currently allows a variation to working hours for a person involved in “emergency works” where a risk to property exists. This excludes some possible situations where “personal risk” applies. The variation still requires the “emergency works” to be directed by a local authority or the Police.

Defence Force

15. Why have the limits for reserve force personnel (such as territorials) been changed?

Reserve force training takes place mainly on weekends (or at an annual camp). Weekend training usually finishes on a Sunday afternoon. For a driver who is subject to work time hours, and has not had a 24-hour break immediately prior to the training, this means that they can't resume other work until late Monday afternoon. The change in the Rule allows those drivers to “restart” their working week after a 16-hour break.

16. How are the risks of fatigue being managed in this case?

The minimum break (of 16 hours) is intended to ensure adequate time for sleep before re-commencing other work; and this variation will not be available on consecutive weekends.

Extending the criteria for who may apply for a work time variation

17. Why allow people who are not transport operators to apply for a variation?

The previous restriction to transport service operators excluded couriers and others who are subject to work time requirements but who are not operators. The changes also allow the organisers of an event (such as a charity truck parade) to apply for a one-off variation of the 24-hour break requirement.

Clarifying the system for showing days, during which no driving occurs, in a logbook

18. What happens when logbooks cover days in which no driving is undertaken?

Some people are not driving vehicles subject to work time limits and/or logbooks full time but are undertaking a range of other duties during a cumulative work period (the term used in the Act to describe the days between 24-hour rest breaks, commonly referred to as a working week). The Rule requires that, when driving that is subject to logbook use is commenced part-way through a cumulative work period, a record of the days back to the last 24-hour break must also be completed. This proposed change would allow less detail to be recorded in the logbook record on “non-driving days”. It would not, however, permit gaps in the record across a cumulative work period.

Extending the logbook exemption to cover all tractors and self-propelled machinery

19. Why extend the logbook exemption for tractors to people other than farmers?

The Rule previously exempted (subject to conditions) tractors and similar vehicles owned or operated by farmers from the requirement to complete a logbook. However, it does not exempt the same types of vehicle when operated by agricultural contractors. There is also the practical difficulty that many agricultural contractors are also farm owners. Both types of vehicle are generally driven only short distances and at low speeds, therefore it makes sense to treat all drivers of those vehicles in the same way.

Changing the definition of priority call

20. Why change the definition of ‘priority call’?

Some ‘time-critical’ responses to calls for ambulance services sit on the boundary between tasks that can be described as a “priority call” and those that would not meet the “imminent risk” criteria in the Rule. Ambulance service representatives asked that a broader definition of this term be introduced, to allow for situations in which patient care requires transfer from one facility to another in a time-critical manner, even if there is no “imminent” risk to life. To be regarded as a priority situation the risk will no longer need to be “imminent” but is still restricted to “serious” situations.

Improving the logbook form

21. What change is being made to logbooks?

The Rule now allows the use of a printer code for logbooks with a combination of numbers or letters that designate the book.

22. Why has this change been made?

When the Rule was drafted it included, as part of the logbook form, a reference to a “book code” (distinguishing each logbook) that had letters not numbers. Printers commented on the draft form, but no-one raised concerns about the book code until the first requests for approving logbook formats came in. It then became clear that printers had systems that could place a sequential number on each logbook, but would have to invest in new machinery to have a letter-based code.

Logbook suppliers noted that the change to an all-letter requirement would lead to a significant increase in logbook prices, because of the need to purchase the new machinery to meet the requirement. Approved forms to date have allowed printers to use a number code. The Rule now reflects the accepted (and sensible) practice.

A small change in the explanatory text has also been made in the amendment Rule the use of the term “in any 24-hours” as part of the advisory text was not in line with the way that the Rule defines a day. The replacement text is “in any cumulative work day”.

23. Does this mean that logbooks previously approved have to be replaced?

No, the Rule specifies that a logbook format already approved under this Rule will continue to be valid.

24. Are there any other provisions in the Rule which are changing?

The amendment also tidies up a number of other provisions that have been shown, in practice, to be unclear. These include:

  • clarifying that the work time arrangements for visiting (defence) forces apply if they use their own vehicles
  • noting that tow authorities are an “acceptable” record of work time for tow truck drivers (the rule previously referred to “equivalent” records, which could be read as must include all matters required for a logbook)
  • the logbook exemption for aircraft refuelling vehicles has the reference to a “road” removed, so that very limited road travel is now included.

General questions

25. What is the legal basis for the Rule?

The Land Transport Act 1998 allows the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules. Section 158(b)(vi)(A) and (F) specifically refers to the Minister's powers to make Rules concerning work time and logbooks.

26. Are there any new offences created by this amendment?

No additional offences or penalties are required to give effect to the amendment Rule.

27. How will the NZ Transport Agency make sure people know their responsibilities under the amendment Rules?

To raise awareness of this law change, information for affected stakeholders and industry groups will be distributed when the amendment Rule is signed.

28. How can I obtain a copy of the amendment Rule?

Final rules are available on our websiteA copy of the final amendment Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation or direct from Wickliffe Limited, telephone (06) 358 8231.

29. How can I obtain further information about the amendment Rule?

Further information about the amendment Rule may be obtained by calling the NZ Transport Agency Contact Centre on Freephone 0800 699 000.

Page created: 24 February 2010