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How Does an Electronic Work Diary Work?

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

An NHVR certified Electronic Work Diary (EWD) is a solution used to record and monitor driver work and rest times as a voluntary replacement to the written work diary. EWDs allow you to proactively manage fatigue, reduce re-keying of spreadsheets and enable easy auditing with a click of a button.


A traditional EWD, used to augment a log book, is a solution that uses data from your vehicles to make the process of filling out legally required driver work diaries easier.

While EWDs have traditionally been used to augment the paper work diary, an NHVR approved system can be used in place of the paper work diary. With EWDs, you can get instant feedback on the current fatigue status of drivers, as well as historic views, reporting and alerts, to keep everyone safe and aware. Compliance and enforcement views also make monitoring of driver behaviour and compliance with current safety law simple for everyone involved.

How does an EWD work?

Operating an EWD is simple. Drivers are able to record work and rest hours on an in-cabin touchscreen device by tapping the correct buttons on screen. While the device automatically calculates the driver’s fatigue for instant feedback, the data is also sent to a secure server in real-time for the back-office to help monitor fatigue and mitigate risk.

If the driver is in a remote area outside of communications range, data is stored on the device and is synced once back in range to ensure all systems are up-to-date and working in unison.

Fatigue data input by the driver is captured alongside time, location and other relevant information. Businesses will get a live view of fatigue status while back-office staff gain insight into driver work and rest times, advanced alerting, reports with visual aids and historic feedback.

See more about how an EWD works »

How can drivers use an EWD to record their trips?

Drivers have a unique ID, which is used to log into their EWD, along with a home base and relevant fatigue rules (Basic Fatigue Management (BFM), or standard hours). When they start work for the day, they simply hit ‘work’ on the EWD, and ‘rest’ for rest breaks. At the end of the day, they log off for an overnight rest break. For their next shift, the driver will receive an alert to sign off on yesterday’s hours before starting work for the day. Once signed off, the entries cannot be changed.

How are EWDs different from a paper diary?

The biggest difference is that an EWD is a digital system that automatically calculates your fatigue status information for you, with no manual calculations and no paperwork. EWDs also:

  • Track a journey down to the nearest minute, while paper diaries only account for time in 15-minute intervals.
  • Require far less time to fill out, reduce the risk of incorrect data, or records being lost/damaged.
  • Provide in-cab alerts for drivers so they never miss a rest break.

Does a driver still require a paper work diary if they have an approved EWD?

An NHVR-approved electronic work diary can be used as an alternative to paper work diaries, ensuring that data is accurate and timely - however, if your drivers are swapping between paper and electronic, drivers will need to carry both in the vehicle at all times to be compliant. If the EWD isn't NHVR-approved, a paper work diary is still required at all times to be completed by drivers.

Why are EWDs important?

An EWD not only makes it easy for drivers to manage their own fatigue effectively but helps them meet their obligations to the Chain of Responsibility. It also allows safety and compliance officers to work on more strategic initiatives rather than chasing work sheets and calculating hours. EWDs provide important insights into available work hours to help ensure compliance and improve accurate scheduling of hours.

EWDs do all the complex maths of calculating a driver’s work and rest hours for you against their ruleset. It provides a central place for everyone to stay-up-to date on fatigue compliance, while also helping with other business tasks such as rosters, payroll and accounts. Fatigue is extremely important to manage due to the high risk of danger associated with it – not only for the driver, but for everyone else on the road. Ensuring that everyone in the business is able to identify risks involved with fatigue and do what they can to mitigate them helps to ensure a safe working environment. EWDs make it that much easier.

What are the risks of fatigue and how does an EWD help to manage it?

Fatigue is one of the most highly regulated aspects of the transport industry due to the severe consequences of working while fatigued. Around 20 per cent of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue, and this number increases to 30 per cent on rural roads. Drivers who have been awake for 24 hours are also seven times more likely to have an accident.

To better manage compliance, an electronic work diary provides real-time feedback to drivers about upcoming rest breaks required based on their fatigue rules. It has the ability to provide event, rule and historic breakdowns for the driver to better understand fatigue. This offers insights into dangerous behaviour or untenable schedules and reduces overall risk by notifying drivers when it’s time to take a break, so they can find a rest stop. EWDs help to simplify fatigue management and provide an added layer of safety for long-haul drives.

How else will Electronic Work Diaries benefit your operation?

Electronic Work Diaries automate the fatigue management process, reducing the volume of paperwork in a business and removing any unnecessary guesswork. This makes it easier to remain compliant and significantly reduces admin costs.

Real time alerts allow the back office to proactively manage fatigue and its associated risks, while thorough reporting allows for advanced analysis into fatigue and compliance rules. Real-time, up-to-date information helps to accurately allocate jobs, and frees up essential working hours for more strategic and business-focused initiatives.

This safety-first approach to the workplace will improve overall health and safety culture in businesses.

How can you manage change and implement an EWD successfully into your fleet?

The introduction of any new technology into your operation should be effectively managed to ensure success. The most important steps include a solid induction process, as well as ongoing training and coaching.

An induction program is essential because it allows for shared learning and a communal approach to new processes. This program should include an introduction to EWDs and the ways they can be used, as well as detail how EWDs work and the benefits of using them for drivers and other staff.

Read more about change management »

How can you maintain ongoing use of the EWD technology?

Induction programs should be paired with ongoing training and coaching to reinforce the importance of accurate work diaries. Drivers and staff should be trained separately on the features of EWDs that will help them in their day-to-day roles, and training in the months that follow should act as a refresher for those that require it.

Accompanied by an open-door policy this approach will let staff and drivers address questions in a group situation and benefit from new knowledge. Management should take a positive approach and foster a helpful learning environment.

How are EWDs enforced?

EWD compliance is enforced at roadside. An enforcement officer can look at any breaches longer than 15-minutes in the last 28 days and use the EWD compliance view to take notes or send essential information to themselves. This information is used to ensure drivers are meeting their compliance requirements.

No data is shared with any jurisdiction unless the driver is asked for it at roadside by enforcement or it is requested from the record keeper.

What is an EWD record keeper?

Record keepers for EWDs are people responsible for collating specific fatigue management information as dictated by the HVNL. Their primary role is to manage the data coming in and ensure that EWD operators comply with the conditions of approval set out by the NHVR. They are responsible for:

  • Receiving and storing driver fatigue information
  • Ensuring EWDs are in proper working order (including notifying the NHVR of issues)
  • Providing reports of information to drivers and authorised officers (as set out by the HVNL)
  • Cooperating with the NHVR and jurisdictions with investigations relating to fatigue and EWD operational activities

While the HVNL defines who the record keeper is for a driver, employers, accreditation holders and drivers may appoint third parties, including technology providers, to undertake record keeping functions. This means that both the record keeper and third-party are legally responsible for the compliant execution of the record keeping function.

In-vehicle technology will empower drivers to manage their own compliance efforts. To find out more about EWDs and compliance management, download the free eBook today.