Concerns expressed over coaches to Melbourne
Consumer Protection and WorkSafe would like to remind the community and travel industry about the importance of having an alert driver on express coach or bus services going from Western Australia to Victoria for the AFL Grand Final.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said footy fans from Perth, heading across the Nullarbor, should seek assurances from coach or bus charter service providers about this important safety issue.
“Anyone buying a seat on a bus or coach to Melbourne should seek to ask the ticket seller about their plans to relieve the driver when they are tired,” he said.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law services must be carried out with due care and skill. It would be reasonable to expect that a driver of a coach or bus service would be able to take appropriate breaks when tired, or swap places with another driver if required.
“Driving while tired is clearly dangerous and can have potentially fatal consequences. We hope businesses would never knowingly put their customers at risk but when a coach or bus service is offered at short notice in response to a large demand and a lack of supply for transport, it is important to make sure that appropriate fatigue management measures have been put in place. Our officers have been carrying out checks with some charter services but anyone boarding a bus or coach should also be mindful.”
WorkSafe also issued a reminder to commercial bus operators choosing to operate on a two-up basis that they needed to be aware of their obligations under the fatigue management provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. Further details on these obligations can be found in the Code of Practice – Fatigue Management for Commercial Vehicle Drivers, which is available on the WorkSafe website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe. There are different rules and regulations in South Australia and Victoria, where National Heavy Vehicle Laws apply. For details about fatigue management and the use of log books and work diaries in those Eastern States, see the website: www.nhvr.gov.au.
In relation to transport arrangements managed privately, the Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection said that this was a grey area.
“We are aware from our usual monitoring of the WA marketplace that some West Coast Eagles fans have hired vehicles and then advertised on Gumtree for F class bus or coach drivers, as well as put seats for sale. Even though consumer law may not apply to these transactions, safety is equally important and organisers of these bus or coach tours should take steps to minimise the risk of an accident caused by driver tiredness.”
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