Trucking operator convicted, fined $290k for overloading

A NSW trucking company has been convicted and fined almost $300,000 after pleading guilty to 84 overloading offences

Trucking operator convicted, fined $290k for overloading
Trucking operator convicted, fined $290k for overloading
By Brad Gardner | April 15, 2011

A NSW trucking company has been convicted and fined close to $300,000 after an investigation exposed 84 overloading offences over a three-year period.

The Downing Centre Local Court slugged general freight carrier Kalae with a fine of just over $290,000 and imposed a supervisory intervention order to monitor the weight of the company’s vehicles.

Kalae, which runs a fleet of 160 trucks across three states, pleaded guilty to the offences between June 30, 2008 and February 17, 2011.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) charged Kalae under chain of responsibility laws for a mix of minor, substantial and severe breaches.

Although the laws are designed to hold all parties in the supply chain accountable, the RTA has confirmed the consignors and consignees have not been charged.

"The loads carried by the operator involved multiple consignees and consignors making it unreasonable for each to be prosecuted for the mass offences," a spokeswoman says.

She says the RTA investigated a loader, but no charges have been laid.

NatRoad CEO Bernie Belacic says chain of responsibility is a great tool to improve road safety, but not enough is being done to hold all parties accountable. He says trucking operators are fed up with being targeted by authorities.

"That’s all they’re doing. They are not going any further [up the chain]," he says of investigators.

"Where are the people whose product it is? Where’s the consignor?"

Despite chain of responsibility laws being introduced in NSW in 2005, Belacic says manufacturers are still unaware of their obligations and believe trucking operators are solely accountable for overloading.

"They don’t know what you’re talking about," he says.

According to the RTA, it has laid a combined 2,104 charges against consignees, consignors, directors and trucking operators since 2005, securing 172 convictions.

The spokeswoman did not detail the parties that were convicted, but says there have been 690 charges against trucking operators, 685 against consignees, 512 against consignors and 188 against directors.

The RTA says overloaded vehicles are a safety risk to the community and that a heavy vehicle carrying 10 percent more weight on its axles can cause 50 percent more damage to road infrastructure.

"Gross overloading is not acceptable. It should be a lesson to everybody," Australian Trucking Association NSW manager Jill Lewis says of the case.

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