The fraught process of harmonising trucking penalties has reached a watershed with the release of the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) Heavy Vehicle National Law Penalties Framework Review Final Report.
For instance, the NTC had recommended that the penalty for driving while fatigued rise from $6,000 to $15,000, to align with a critical work and rest-hours offence, but there was not consensus among TISOC members for that.
For governments, the primary recommendation was the formation − alongside, or as part of, any COR amendment package − of a “penalties matrix” to ensure they are “set accurately”.
This would consider the ‘gravity’ of offences – damage, safety, commercial advantage − and ‘culpability” − intent, recklessness, negligence and strict liability.
For those on the receiving end, maximum penalty rises recommended include:
-using or allowing use of defected vehicles, $3,000 to $6,000, resulting in a $600 infringement penalty based on the 10 per cent infringement value
making a demand that may result in a driver exceeding the speed limit, $6,000 to $10,000, to align with that for causing a driver to drive while fatigued
-failing to ensure a schedule will not cause fatigued driving, $6,000 to $10,000, to align with the penalty for failing to ensure it will not cause driver to exceed the speed limit
-causing a driver to drive if particular requirements not complied with, $4,000 to $6,000, to align with a similar issue in another section
intelligent access information offences, $6,000 to $20,000, to align with penalties for disclosing protected information and for using protected information other than for an authorised use.
-failing to return an identity card, $3,000 to $4,000, to align with penalties for most offences for failing to return documents.
Cost rises are to be reviewed every three years.