Drivers have a number of responsibilities and obligations.
Holding a correct and valid licence
To drive a truck of any kind, you must hold a current and valid licence for the class of truck you are driving.
Remember to renew your licence and/or endorsements on time (allowing enough time to process your renewal before your current licence and/or endorsements expire).
New Zealand has four licence classes for heavy vehicles. You need to hold the right class for the vehicle you drive. Special vehicle endorsements may also be required for special type vehicles including forklifts, bulldozers and trams and those that run on rollers or self-laying tracks.
Tow-truck (vehicle recovery) drivers
You will need a vehicle recovery (V) endorsement to drive a vehicle in a vehicle recovery service.
Drivers transporting dangerous or hazardous goods
In most situations you will need a dangerous goods (D) endorsement on your driver licences to transporting dangerous or hazardous goods (including when towing vehicles that are transporting dangerous goods)
Being a safe and courteous driver
As a professional driver, you should always:
be safe and courteous
obey the road rules, most of which are explained in the Road Code, and local bylaws whenever you are driving
understand that others make mistakes
set an example to others.
This also applies away from work.
A number of penalties apply to drivers found to be breaking the traffic rules, including vehicle impoundment, which will affect your ability to work.
Work time and logbooks
By law, most truck and tow-truck drivers have a maximum number of hours they can work.
Being fit for duty
Drivers are responsible for coming to work ‘fit for duty’. Factors that can affect your well-being and fitness for work include:
having a second job
undertaking recreational and sporting activities
not having enough sleep
experiencing stressful situations
consuming alcohol or other drugs and medications
coping with the demands of family and relationships
experiencing changes to your normal routines
issues with your personal health
Medical and health conditions can also affect the ability to think quickly and clearly.
Checking vehicles before use
Before you drive any vehicle, you should do a simple pre-use ‘walk-around’ check.
This will help ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate. It will also enable you to identify the need for, and schedule, repairs and maintenance – reducing the need to deal with unexpected breakdowns. That could also mean long-term savings for your business.
Reporting vehicle faults
Best practice fleet management includes a system for drivers to report any vehicle faults they find, and a process for advising drivers on what happens about the reported faults. Make sure you have a vehicle fault reporting and resolution system in your business.
Identifying and preventing fatigue
Fatigue can be dangerous for drivers, especially people who drive as part of their job. As a driver, you should know how to prevent and manage fatigue.