A TRUCK driver who was confused about his logbook entries and drove longer than he should have has been convicted and fined a total of $3000 after appearing before Bathurst Local Court on a string of driving charges.
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David Craig Fardell, 56, of Leumeah Road in Orange, appeared before magistrate Kevin Hockey in Bathurst Local Court charged with two counts of being a solo driver working more than the standard maximum time and one count of being a solo driver resting less than the standard minimum time.
Fardell's solicitor, Mr Gooley, told the court his client pleaded guilty to all three charges, saying he accepts he committed the offences but in the context of why the offending occurred, there was confusion about filling out the logbooks.
Mr Gooley also said his client took sporadic rests, adding that, post-offence, he had accepted an offer by the police officer who had charged him to help him understand the logbook and fill it out correctly.
He said it was certainly a situation that if Fardell loses his licence, it will place significant hardship on his family.
Mr Gooley said he was instructed to seek a non-conviction.
References tended to the court spoke of Fardell's hard work ethic and him being the main income provider for his family.
Police allege that, at 11.12pm on May 5, Fardell was the driver of a rigid truck driving east on Kendall Avenue in Bathurst when he was stopped for a breath test.
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He handed police a Victorian HR driver's licence.
The court heard he was driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle having a combined mass of more than 12,000kg at the time. He was asked for his work diary, which was inspected by police, who said they found a number of breaches.
The first was when he worked a total of 15 hours and 15 minutes in a 24-hour period (after a seven-hour continuous rest break) between 10pm on April 24 and 10pm on April 26, exceeding the maximum allowable work hours of 12 hours in any 24-hour period by three hours and 15 minutes.
Another entry revealed a failure to take a prescribed seven-hour continuous rest break in a 24-hour period between 10pm on April 25 and 10pm on April 26, resting only five hours and five minutes in a 24-hour period.
The third offence occurred when the accused worked 15 hours and 15 minutes in a 24-hour period between 2.30pm on April 26 and 2.30pm on April 27, exceeding his maximum work hours by three hours and 15 minutes.
In total, the police allege the accused committed three critical breaches, one severe breach and one minor breach in relation to his work diary. He was issued with penalty notices for the other fatigue breaches located in his diary.
His honour took into account the early plea of guilt, but said they were serious matters because of the obvious impact they could have on other road users.
Mr Hockey found it was not appropriate to deal with the matters as a non-conviction, but reduced the fines to $1000 per offence.
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