There’s talking tough, and there’s being tough

When the fine was handed down for Lennons Transport, the $1.3 million amount was heralded by the NSW Roads and Freight Minister’s press department as, “Toughest truck compliance and enforcement regime in Australia secures historic fine.”

 

It is an historic fine, topping the record achieved in South Australia earlier this year by $50,000. The investigation and prosecution process was thorough and, as a result, achieved its aim. Namely, to make an example of the company owning the Lennons operation, after the horrific Menangle crash in which three people died in 2012.

 

The details of the accident and the subsequent investigation do not make for very pleasant reading. Speeding offences numbered 200 with speed limiter tampering identified as another offence. The driver was doing wrong, the operator was also doing wrong and they have been duly punished for their crimes.

 

The result is likely to send a shockwave through the trucking industry, as did the accident when it happened back in 2012. Incidents like this are indefensible, the perpetrators will be caught and punished. Operators have reviewed their systems to ensure this sort of incident doesn’t occur in their fleet.

 

However, for Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, and General Manager of RMS Compliance Operations, Paul Endycott, to suggest this massive fine shows how effective their tough roads regime is, is quite a long bow to draw. The fine was not levied as a result of the preventative work done by the road side enforcement.

 

“We have the biggest enforcement and compliance regime in Australia with almost 300 frontline RMS inspectors,” said Endycott after the fine was handed down.“We work closely in conjunction with the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command headed by Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith and I pay tribute to their tireless efforts in working with us to make roads safer in NSW.”

 

The investigation, conviction and fine came about because an irresponsible trucking operator let drivers push themselves and their trucks too hard, resulting in a fatal crash. Putting the spin onto the story, suggesting the tough NSW roads regime is working, is stretching the point. This kind of behaviour needs to be stopped, before someone is killed.

 

Talking about sending a message about chain of responsibility in the statement from the Minister is also disingenuous. There was no chain of responsibility prosecution outside of the trucking operation. Most of us think of chain of responsibility as referring to the links in the supply chain, not the chain of command within a trucking operator.

 

Duncan Gay was right ,when he said, “This is a terrible tragedy, there are no winners here, but I hope this decision by the Court today brings some small comfort to the Logan family after their tragic loss.”

 

 

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Author: Tim Giles

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