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Chain of Responsibility law reforms announced

Improved road safety for all road users is the potential outcome of the stronger Chain of Responsibility (CoR) law reforms that have been passed by the Queensland Parliament. These new amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law are due to take effect in mid-2018, leaving all parties with plenty of time to prepare.

What do the amendments mean?

The amendments will complement existing heavy vehicle and nationwide workplace safety laws and will actually make it easier for duty holders to understand and assess their CoR risk. Under the amended law, a positive duty of care will be placed on all supply chain parties.

Amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law include:

  • A primary safety duty that will apply to all parties in the chain of responsibility, including consignors and consignees
  • Extension of CoR to include truck maintenance and repairs
  • A dramatic reduction in red tape
  • Higher maximum penalties
  • New due diligence obligations for company directors and executives, with a requirement that the prosecution prove its case

In a press release issued by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Acting CEO Ray Hassall said the amendments will be critical for a more robust heavy vehicle industry.

“These reforms are a significant leap forward in recognising everyone in the supply chain has a role to play in ensuring safety,” Mr Hassall said.

“One of our roles as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is to provide information and educational resources to guide the industry through these changes.

“We are doing just that through our soon to be released guidelines for industry Codes of Practice, and most recently the release of our first series of CoR podcasts and fact-sheets as part of a national effort to boost safety for all road users.”

Understanding COR

Under CoR, all participants in the road transport supply chain can be held to account for safety issues on the road. Under the new amendments, you do not have to have a direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle to be legally liable for road safety breaches, you simply have to exercise, or have the capability of exercising, control or influence over any transport task.

Previously, any investigation into breaches of national road laws focused primarily on the drivers and trucking businesses. These new amendments widen the scope of CoR and open the door for corporate entities, directors, partners and managers to be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. A complete list of supply chain parties and examples of when CoR could apply are available on the NHVR website.

At Drake Trailers, we’re communicating with heavy vehicle operators every day. We’re acutely aware of the issues that are affecting drivers and operators. Every Drake Trailer is designed with operator safety underpinning every stage of the design and manufacturing process. For more information about our range of industry-leading transport trailers, contact us today.

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