Austrans results spark COR investigations in NSW

NSW authorities will begin chain of responsibility investigations in the wake of heavy vehicle compliance initiative Operation Austrans

Austrans results spark COR investigations in NSW
Austrans results spark COR investigations
By Brad Gardner | June 26, 2013

New chain of responsibility investigations will begin in New South Wales in the wake of heavy vehicle compliance initiative Operation Austrans.

Announcing the results of the month-long campaign that led to more than 30,700 heavy vehicles being inspected in NSW, Police Minister Michael Gallacher says some of the contraventions uncovered by inspectors will be followed up beyond the truck driver.

Authorities detected breaches ranging from non-compliance with fatigue laws, speed limiter tampering, speeding and violations of load restraint requirements.

"As a result of the breaches and offences detected during this operation, some chain of responsibility investigations will be undertaken," Gallacher says.

"The chain of responsibility holds others in the supply chain responsible for heavy vehicle safety and compliance, not just the drivers themselves. This means that customers, owners and operators can also be charged, if appropriate.

"During Operation Austrans, 12 cautions and 187 legal actions had already commenced against offenders other than the driver using the chain of responsibility provisions."

Gallacher says NSW Police and the Roads and Maritime Services inspected an average of 1,098 vehicles each day of Operation Austrans, which ran for four weeks throughout Australia and New Zealand from May 20 to June 16.

"As well as speed compliance, Operation Austrans also targeted road safety issues such as fatigue, vehicle standards and drug use," he says.

"Austrans is a month-long operation held every year, and has now been running successfully for more than 20 years. It is the ultimate joint task force as it operates nationally, so rogue truckies cannot evade police in one jurisdiction by driving across the border."

Gallacher says authorities detected 305 speeding offences and issued 167 infringements for not wearing seatbelts. He says 1,209 unregistered heavy vehicles were identified, while 72 unlicensed, suspended or disqualified drivers were caught behind the wheel.

There were 13 instances of drug-driving, one drink-driving case and 10 drug possession offences.

"There were 1,169 fatigue-related offences detected. These relate to offences such as not taking rest breaks, exceeding the permitted number of driving hours and falsifying or not carrying work diaries. Of these, 23 were classified as severe breaches and 96 were classified as critical breaches of the fatigue laws," Gallacher says.

He expressed concern about the 172 heavy vehicles found with incorrectly restrained loads. He says inspectors took action on 801 mass, dimensions and load restraint breaches. Gallacher says 250 of the breaches were classified as substantial, while 69 fell into the severe category.

"It does not take much to dislodge an improperly secured load. If the load falls onto the road an accident can occur. If it falls on top of a car the outcome can be fatal. If it is propelled through the cabin of a truck the driver is seriously at risk," Gallacher says.

Police and the RMS also handed out 453 defect notices for breaches of vehicle standards.

"The most commonly identified safety breaches were for defective brakes, but worn tyres and non-functioning lights were also identified," Gallacher says.

"These vehicle inspections also identified evidence that speed limiters had been tampered with, which is a major risk factor to everyone. During Operation Austrans, 75 vehicles were found to have non-compliant speed limiters."

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