The National Transport Commission (NTC) has spent money on a review asking why the rules its made don’t get followed. They are asking for suggestions how to make transport operators follow the rules and recommending States use the powers they were given under Compliance and Enforcement laws introduced in 2003.
The NTC claims to be using the review to find ways to promote better compliance within the heavy vehicle industry because it is important to increase safety and ensure those who break the law are not rewarded with any competitive advantage according to the recently released review.
The NTC used extensive interviews and consultation with heavy vehicle drivers, operators, enforcement bodies and industry peak bodies, the Heavy Vehicle Compliance Review makes a range of draft recommendations on how to better encourage, promote and enforce compliance within the industry.
“Laws and policies introduced since the 1970s have resulted in significant improvements in road safety outcomes. Fatalities involving large, heavy vehicles in Australia are trending downwards, and industry members interviewed for this project expressed strong commitment to safety,” said NTC Chief Executive and Commissioner, Paul Retter AM.
“Nonetheless, compliance with the heavy vehicle laws and, where compliance fails, enforcement of those laws is important for road safety, fairness, protection of the road network and the health and wellbeing of the community.
“With the introduction of the new national law to underpin the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator later this year, it is a great opportunity to take a fresh look at regulatory compliance and address some long standing as well as more recent issues in this area,” said Mr Retter.
The draft recommendations identified in the review include:
- that the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) play a large role in educating industry about the laws and their obligations
- that Chain of Responsibility investigations become a major component of the enforcement effort of the NHVR
- that outcomes of prosecutions be made public to give comfort to compliant operators that rogue elements of the industry are being dealt with
- that guidelines be developed on the use of various intervention strategies within the Heavy Vehicle National Law, including formal warnings and improvement notices, compensation orders, supervisory intervention orders and prohibition orders so that they can be appropriately utilised by regulators.
In order to identify the draft recommendations, the review explores:
- the motivations for non-compliance with the law
- the measures contained within the heavy vehicle national law, including assessing where and how they are currently used and the extent to which they effectively address the motivations for non-compliance
- how technology and initiatives to encourage self-regulation may influence compliance
- current initiatives to address compliance and enforcement issues, such as the Chain of Responsibility review, the penalties review, and other work within the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Forward Work Program.
Mr Retter said that the introduction of the Compliance and Enforcement Bill in 2003 was a landmark for regulation of the heavy vehicle industry in Australia, as it included measures that went beyond the traditional approaches of fines and defect notices.
The Bill introduced a new range of intervention options depending on the severity of the offence, as well as the Chain of Responsibility concept – which recognises the influence of all parties in the supply chain, not just the driver or operator, on compliance with the law.
“However, the NTC’s research has found that Australian regulators are not fully utilising the suite of intervention measures available to them, and this review explores possible ways to improve this,” said Mr Retter.
“It’s important to have effective deterrents in place which address the reasons why non- compliance with the law occurs, which the review explores in some detail.”
To download the review, or to make a submission, please visit the NTC website at www.ntc.gov.au.
Public submissions close on 1 November 2013.