Chain of responsibility laws are to be extended to truck maintenance, making trucking businesses and their executives legally accountable for heavy vehicle maintenance. This change is expected to be outlined in a Regulatory Impact Statement due out in the coming months from the Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness project being carried out, jointly, by the National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
The Australian Trucking Association has been lobbying for the extension of these ‘COR’ laws since 2013. Chris Melham, ATA CEO, said the decision would have strong safety outcomes for the industry and the community.
“Maintenance levels are generally very good in our industry. As operators, we put a great deal of effort into making sure our equipment is safe,” said Melham. “However, some businesses may feel pressured to skimp on maintenance in order to save money and time. At present, company directors and executives can be held to account under the chain of responsibility legislation if their business does not take all reasonable steps to prevent fatigue and speed breaches. But there are no similar requirements for maintenance.
“Extending the chain of responsibility concept to heavy vehicle maintenance will compel businesses and their senior managers to take all reasonable steps to make sure maintenance staff can do their jobs properly, for example, by delivering adequate budgets, resources and training. The ATA has been campaigning to have the chain of responsibility concept extended to maintenance since 2013. We applaud this decision by Australia’s transport and infrastructure ministers.”
The Australian Logistics Council’ Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff is looking forward to the changes in rules on heavy vehicle road worthiness and the legal duties applied to participants in the chain of responsibility.
“ALC notes the Regulatory Impact Statement for Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness is yet to be finalised, and we look forward to its public release in a few months,” said Kilgariff. “ALC is committed to assuring the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles used on Australian roads, it’s good for safety, it makes smart business sense, and it reflects positively on the entire freight transport and logistics industry.
“Any change to the regulatory framework governing heavy vehicle road worthiness needs to be well-thought through, undertaken in close consultation with industry, and done in such a way that prioritises activities that delivers results. In relation to this issue, ALC has proposed a series of first practical steps focused on some critical administrative reforms that should be progressed to improve safety and national consistency.”