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Commercial road transport toolkit for drivers and operators

This toolkit's 'infocards' contain important information for commercial road transport drivers and operators. The cards can be printed and used in the workplace. New infocards will be added as they are developed.

Alternative fatigue management schemes (AFMS)

What is an AFMS?

An AFMS is a risk management programme through which licensed transport operators are given the opportunity to manage working and rest time in a way that addresses the specifi c needs of their business while ensuring driver fatigue is proactively managed. An AFMS may be approved to permit variations to allowable rest breaks or an extension of a cumulative work day.

An AFMS is designed and managed by individual transport operators.

The operation of an AFMS must be approved by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) prior to its use by the operator. In seeking NZTA approval, operators are required to undertake a full hazard analysis which includes documenting how they will proactively manage fatigue.

In approving an AFMS, the NZTA is likely to impose conditions. These conditions will be discussed with the operator during the approval process.

Why would an operator be interested in operating an AFMS?

Operating an AFMS provides a number of benefits for operators including:

  • taking a proactive approach to workplace fatigue management; assisting towards compliance with the Health and Safety Employment Act
  • business efficiencies that include:
    • ability to manage planned work that may exceed those prescribed in the law, eg operators running vehicles between Auckland and Christchurch being able to plan for these trips by having appropriate countermeasures in place
    • ability to manage unplanned delays, eg stock trucks being delayed in delivering stock to a freezing works
    • improving utilisation of vehicles and plant.

Feedback from an AFMS operator is that drivers get better sleep, balance their lifestyle and perform tasks more efficiently.

Types of AFMS

After consultation with industry and sleep management experts, the NZTA has developed two principal types of AFMS:

AFMS 1 – permits an operator to vary the hours that a driver can work from those hours prescribed in law, provided the total hours worked in any cumulative work day do not exceed 13 and the total hours worked in any cumulative work period do not exceed 70.

AFMS 2 – a full AFMS (AFMS 2) allows drivers to exceed prescribed work time hours under closely monitored conditions. These include applying suitable countermeasures that reduce the possibility of the onset of driver fatigue. An approved AFMS 2 may permit working hours in excess of 13 in a cumulative work day but no more than 70 in a cumulative work period.

Guidelines for preparing and including application forms for AFMS 1 and AFMS 2 are available from the NZTA website.

Information relating to the prevention of driver fatigue can be found at

This information is provided as a general guide only, and does not cover everything in the law. It is not the source of the law.

Page updated: 13 August 2010