New rules in Australia are designed to ensure everyone involved across the heavy vehicle transport industry, including customers, will share equal responsibility under what the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator calls the ‘chain of responsibility’.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, concerned with road safety and compliance, does what it says on the tin: it enforces the strict regulations that come under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. According to the NHVR, the chain of responsibility applies to anyone who consigns, packs, loads and even receives goods by heavy vehicles in Australia.
So when there are breaches of the national laws, those involved across the spectrum of trucking – from the drivers all the way up to the corporate entities – can be held legally viable. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of customers involved in the supply chain avoiding responsibility when these breaches occur.
“All too often, investigations start and end with trucking businesses and their drivers because it is too difficult to pursue businesses,” said Christopher Melham, CEO of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA). “In some cases, major customers won’t even concede that they are subject to the laws,” he said.
So the ATA and the NHVR met recently to discuss the reform of the chain of responsibility process, which has been backed by government.
“In the ATA’s view, it is essential that the forthcoming federal election does not delay the rollout of these reforms,” explained Melham.
Updated industry codes ready from 1st July
Indeed, the NHVR has advised that the updated industry codes of practice should be ready from 1st July – the day before Australia votes.
“The ATA has already submitted an application to have the industry’s own safety accreditation program, TruckSafe, recognised under the industry code of practice guidelines,” said Melham.
TruckSafe helps truck operators ensure they meet industry standards in the areas of management, maintenance, driver health and training and on-road compliance, with TruckCare relating to the transport of livestock.
“We are very proud of our TruckSafe accredited operators,” Melham continued. “I look forward to TruckSafe’s approval as an industry code of practice, so the efforts being made by these operators can be formally recognised by the NHVR as well.”
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