According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CoR chief, truck drivers must be the first to be targeted by authorities because of the current chain of responsibility structure.
The NHVR said that until legislative changes are made to the chain of responsibility structure, truck drivers will continue to be the first ones targeted.
Michael Crellin, head of the NHVR’s CoR division said because authorities must prove a driver has committed offences before an investigation can move further up the transport supply chain, they are unfortunately targeted first.
Mr Crellin says the review of the chain of responsibility which is taking place at present including the introduction of primary duties, will help authorities hold the entire supply chain liable for their actions, rather than simply concentrating their investigations on drivers.
Mr Crellin was quoted in a post on OwnerDriver.com.au
“We have to come after you first, or it seems. I guess the best way to describe that is the way that the law is currently framed and until we get the general duty we have to actually prove those substantive offences committed by the driver first before we can go and attack anybody else in the chain,” Crellin says.
“What the general duty will provide for us is that overarching workplace health and safety style offence committed by the company and other parties in the supply chain…it’s actually going to be quite effective for us to go back and apply the pressure where it really needs to be applied.
Mr Crellin was speaking at an event organised by The Transport Workers Union (TWU) earlier this year in Melbourne on safety in the road transport industry. The event was attended by representatives from the NTC, the NHVR, the Roads and Maritime Services, Toll and FBT Transwest.
Companies whose processes and systems force drivers to commit CoR offences are the ones who should be subject to the chain of responsibility, Mr Crellin warned.
The National Transport Commission (NTC) pushed for the imposition of overarching responsibility on businesses and individuals in a discussion paper released in July. According to the NTC existing COR law is very prescriptive and an offence must have occurred before authorities can act.
Mr Crellin went on to explain that a greater emphasis must be placed on other parties in the supply chain, rather than concentrating on the truck driver alone.
“Our conversation needs to change and highlight the fact that it is upstream and downstream that is forcing the pressure ultimately upon the driver,” he says.
“The driver’s the gatekeeper in all of this and unfortunately that is where it has to start for us to kick things off. With some changes to legislation that should improve, but it’s more about actually highlighting the whole problem.”
Mr Crellin expressed his interest in working with state and territory police and road transport agencies to come up with national CoR investigation capabilities. He also hopes WA and The NT will get involved in this process, despite not recognising the NHVR. He concluded by explaining:
“What that means is that there is going to be a lot more interaction between all of those agencies and we will actually be working together so that we can address chain of responsibility right across the nation,”
“And I do indeed mean across the nation because we’ve had a lot of interest already from Northern Territory and Western Australia, who are yet to sign up to the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Read more at: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au