Understanding Chain of Responsibility Obligations

Remain Vigilant



Many of us have difficulty understanding chain of responsibility obligations and what the recent changes to the rules mean. Not only does the industry have difficulty with the concept, so do the authorities who are supposed to enforce the rules.


I suspect those who wrote the original compliance and enforcement acts over ten years ago would also struggle with some of the concepts and how to put them into practice.The proof COR is little understood lies in the fact there have been very few successful prosecutions, as well as the continuing pressure being put on trucking operators, by others in the chain, to push the limits of the rules.


The regulators need to know how dissatisfied and mystified the general population in the trucking world is with the whole COR process. Fortunately, an opportunity to supply some real feedback to those who are helping formulate future COR rules and enforcement, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, is now available.


The survey has been commissioned by the NHVR, to be handled by Macquarie University. This is an opportunity to have your say, and we need the trucking industry to get their views known on this subject. Some useful background reading is also provided (it’s only two pages) to help us formulate our thoughts. 


The information gathered should, we hope, get the message across to those who write and operate the law. They are aware of the ineffectiveness of the COR rules but not how ineffective it has been in reality.


Take the opportunity to recount some of the phone calls, veiled threats and even open threats used to enable the big customers keep their noses clean while the smaller operator gets the job done by stretching the truth.


As with many of the issues in the trucking industry, this is a competent, willing and, sometimes, desperate trucking industry trying to provide an efficient service to a supply chain which is inefficient.


Customers make promises to their customers on which they cannot deliver, because their production, warehousing, invoicing are inefficient or poorly run.Goods destined for a particular customer are often coming off the production line or out of storage just a little too late to make it on time.


That’s OK, you have a willing trucking company who need the work with this customer to survive. Truck loaded, the driver goes to collect his POD paperwork only to find a delivery time which is impossible to meet well within the law. The result is a stretching of the rules and the risk to everyone on the roads of serious injury or worse.


Yet again, we see a highly efficient transport industry bailing out the inefficient customer, at the risk to its own livelihood. Fill out the survey and tell them what it’s really like!