RMS Compliance chief Paul Endycott has blasted companies who issue contracts to trucking operators with penalties for late deliveries.
The NSW chain of responsibility head of enforcement calls for contracts that stipulate penalties for trucking operators whose deliveries run late because these contracts may induce a breach of chain of responsibility laws.
The head of the COR enforcement in New South Wales wants truck operators to send him any customer contracts that set out penalties for running late.
Endycott, the general manager of compliance operations at NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) made the statement while speaking at the Australian Trucking Association’s Technical and Maintenance Conference which was recently held in Melbourne.
Endycott was recently quoted in an article on Fullyloaded.com.au:
“If there are penalties that are being applied to operators and others to induce a breach (of chain of responsibility), we’re very interested,” Endycott says.
“For the last year coming out of our speed enforcement program we’ve identified consignors and consignees that probably employ some of those practices, apply penalties, whether they’re written in a contract or whether they’re verbal.
“Whether it’s the manager in the distribution centre or not that’s actually employing these practices, it must stop.
He went on to explain that everyone involved should work together to tackle this issue if they hear of any of these problematic contracts. Endycott said these types of actions were resulting in risky behaviour. He went on to state:
“We need to know that this behaviour is carried on and is active because it is definitely influencing risk and it needs to be stopped.”
Endycott says his staff of about 20 chain of responsibility investigators sometimes receive contracts sent anonymously by trucking operators. He adds that boardroom minutes, decisions and “instructions that are given down the line” are also “extremely good evidence”.
Endycott also says he’s worried about the people that aren’t “in the room”, such as subcontractors who are being forced to speed and break the law so that they aren’t subjected to these “penalties” stipulated in contracts. Endycott stated:
“It’s the subcontractors of the subcontractors, it’s the people that we see in the middle of the night that are speeding, that are on the gear, there’s all sorts of stuff going wrong with the truck. So they’re the sorts of people that we really need to get to.
“And where does it drive from? It drives from the top, so it’s DCs (distribution centres) back down to the driver.”
Despite some customers still including these “penalties” in their contracts, drivers should not be threatened to engage in unlawful and dangerous driving behaviour in an effort to comply with stipulations in their contracts. The fear of financial penalties would definitely serve as enough motivation for drivers to break the law if necessary to arrive “on time”. Customers need to remember that the chain of responsibility extends to them as well as it does everyone involved in the supply chain and as the GM of compliance operations at NSW RMS points out, this may constitute unlawful behaviour by breaching COR.