Chain of responsibility laws working well says new report

A NEW report has confirmed Australia's chain of responsibility laws are working well to keep truck drivers and other roads users safe from crashes.

This is the finding of an independent taskforce including representatives from Australia's transport industry, road managers and police, charged with reviewing the existing chain of responsibility provisions.

NTC CEO Paul Retter said chain of responsibility laws made sure that anyone whose actions put people's lives at risk was held accountable.

"There is no point in authorities throwing the book at truck drivers for speeding if they're being pressured to meet unrealistic timeframes set by someone else," Mr Retter said.

Chain of responsibility means all individuals along the supply chain must do what they can to ensure everyone complies with the law.

"We encourage Australia's transport industry to fully understand the particular risks their businesses face and take steps to keep their drivers and the rest of the Australian community safe," Mr Retter said.

"This is not a new idea - concepts of chain of responsibility have existed since the early 1990s in transport.

"The taskforce's recognition of the importance of the chain of responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction."

Other findings included:

  • more effort should go to informing, advising and educating all relevant parties about their responsibilities under the chain of responsibility rules
  • reviewing duties in light of opportunities to improve the chain of responsibility regime
  • ensuring all parties influencing on-road behaviours were covered
  • ensuring that executive officer liability provisions are consistent with the COAG principles.

Transport ministers have directed the NTC to consider the best way of applying chain of responsibility laws to those responsible for the roadworthiness of vehicles to ensure appropriate penalties apply.

"It is important for every part of the heavy vehicle industry to reduce the risk of crashes which can affect anyone who uses our roads," Mr Retter said.

The NTC will present recommendations to the meeting of transport ministers in November this year.

The taskforce released an options paper in February.  The Chain of Responsibility Taskforce's final report can be accessed here.

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