Consignor charged, but VicRoads focus on operators

Victorian regulators fine customer $30,000 for chain of responsibility, but focus will remain on trucking operators

Consignor charged, but VicRoads focus on operators
Consignor charged, but VicRoads focus on operators
By Sam Freestone

Victorian regulators have fined a freight customer $30,000 for chain of responsibility breaches, but VicRoads says the focus will remain on trucking operators.

It comes as figures on heavy vehicle compliance rates are falling, despite a crackdown in on-road enforcement.

Compliance and Enforcement Manager for VicRoads Don Leone reveals to ATN a consignor from rural Victoria was fined $30,000 for mass breaches in "the last couple of weeks" but couldn’t give any more detail.

"The investigation went for months," he says.

But while he says customers are not out of reach, the spotlight is on "on-road characters".

He admits in the past financial year "compliance rates have flat-lined".

"If we go back three years, court figures, for mass you are looking at about 400 prosecutions for the 2006-2007 financial year. There were 187 for the [following financial year],"he says.

"Certainly it is less than it was 2 years ago."

But Leone believes chain of responsibility laws are changing attitudes in the transport sector.

"I believe it is in the context of compliance rates, if we go back to lead restraint commodities, the grain industry and the quarry industry, people are proactive in those areas," he says.

"From a cultural point of view, people are seeing now that they are part of compliance."

Last month VicRoads announced the successful prosecution of MG Barnes Transport, with $20,000 in fines for chain of responsibility breaches.

The company, company director, fleet controller, three drivers and a loader pleaded guilty to numerous charges following two months of intensive investigations by VicRoads officers into running B-doubles on non-approved routes.

VicRoads Director of Road User Services Dean Zabrieszach says the company was operating three vehicles over the allowed 62.5 tonne weight limit.

"The three vehicles were found to be operating at almost at almost 25 percent over the allowed weight limit in October 2007, which is a severe safety risk," Zabrieszach says.

"Heavy vehicles which operate over the permitted weight pose a major safety risk for other drivers and can cause major damage to our roads and bridges."

The full investigation on how chain of responsibility laws are working around the country in the September edition of ATN magazine.

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