Bligh adds to COR law with extra enforcement measures

Queensland Government expands heavy vehicle enforcement measures, adding to recently-passed chain of responsibility laws for speed

Bligh adds to COR law with extra enforcement measures
Bligh adds to COR law with extra enforcement measures
By Brad Gardner | May 19, 2010

New heavy vehicle enforcement measures will be introduced in Queensland in a bid to improve compliance and target rogue trucking operators.

The Bligh Government recently passed legislation to hold all parties accountable for preventing truck drivers from speeding from July 1 this year and has now pushed ahead with more measures.

Its Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill will give courts the power to take action against repeat offenders by mandating supervisory intervention orders.

This includes forcing a company to install GPS monitoring technology and gaining expert advice or training to avoid future breaches. All costs will be borne by the operator.

"This bill is targeted at the few rogue operators who, in their desperate desire to deliver freight in unrealistic timeframes, are prepared to put the lives of their drivers and the general public in danger," Everton MP Murray Watt says.

Courts will also have the power to hold a driver or trucking operator financially accountable for damages they cause to the road network if they are convicted of a heavy vehicle offence.

Referred to as road compensation orders, magistrates and judges will be able to issue them on top of any other penalty imposed.

"Honest drivers and operators have nothing to fear from these new measures and should be reassured that nothing they have to do changes when these laws come into effect," Mount Ommaney MP Julie Atwood says.

"These new measures are for those operators and drivers who treat the road like a playground, with profit as their only motivation."

The Bill will also allow on-road enforcement officers to formally warn offenders for minor fatigue management and overloading infringements instead of automatically issuing court notices.

The approach is designed to help those who are genuinely unaware they are committing or have committed an offence. A formal warning cannot be given for substantial or severe fatigue and overloading offences.

Officers will also be able issue improvement notices for defective vehicles and trailers instead of ordering them off the road or fining the company. Operators will be given seven days from the notice to rectify the problem.

"It will enable consideration to be given on a case-by-case basis to the most appropriate means of dealing with behaviour which represents a safety risk to road users," Springwood MP Barbara Stone says of the measure.

"This bill also has an environment that encourages officers to work with operators to assist them to comply with the legislation rather than issuing a penalty infringement notice or commencing court proceedings."

Independent MP Liz Cunningham backed the inclusion of improvement notices, saying they are a practical approach to a problem that occurs over time.

"In this highly commercial time when many of the operators who run truck fleets are running close to the bone in terms of their finances, that will be greatly welcomed by them," Cunningham says.

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