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Discord on driver offences notification reform

Law Society counters QTA and civil liberties council support on privacy grounds


Submissions to the Queensland parliament’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) amendments inquiry have seen a divergence of views on reporting to truck owners when their vehicles are subject to action by authorities.

The Queensland Transport Association (QTA) gave strong support to Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (TORUM Act) and the Transport Planning and Coordination Act 1994 (TPC Act) amendments relating to safety and crashes, particularly allowing the registered operator of a motor vehicle to be notified of any driving offences committed in their vehicle.

“The QTA has been in discussion with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads since 2015 seeking regulatory provisions in Queensland, to provide operators with improved online access to information regarding employees holding a heavy vehicle licence,” its submission says.

“The QTA has a strong view that only a minority of people need be concerned about these changes. In order for the industry to continually improve road safety outcomes we seek your support in introducing this legislation into Queensland as a matter of priority.

“There are currently no provisions within the TORUM Act that support the release of ‘other driver’ driving offences information committed in a registered owners vehicle.

“The QTA recognises the potential benefit under Queensland’s Road Safety Action Plan 2017-19 in supporting young people becoming safe and responsible drivers while driving a relatives or other persons vehicle by notifying the registered owner of irresponsible driver behaviour which will then allow remedial action to be taken to modify driver behaviour.

“Similarly, for the trucking industry and fleet operators where a registered operator (employer) permits another person (employee) to drive their commercial vehicle.

“Currently a registered operator of the vehicle can be notified of offences if they are detected by camera, however registered operators may not be aware of road side intercepted offences that drivers have incurred.

“This amendment will allow registered operators to be made aware of driving offences occurring in their vehicle and to take remedial action with the employee, as it is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to ensure that their vehicle is operated safely on the road at all times.”

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties (QCCL) gave the idea qualified support, saying drivers should be notified of such a move at the same time.

“This will need specific legislative amendment, as it will not happen as a result of the Information Privacy Act,” the QCCL states.

“We also take the view that in the case of employers, they should be required when opting into the program to notify their employees that they have done so.”

However, the Queensland Law Society (QLS) opposes the move.

“This is a basic invasion of an individual’s privacy and could have employment ramifications causing people to otherwise defend matters,” the QLS says, adding that it would be inconsistent with the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act.


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