Enforcement training critical says NatRoad

Greater HVNL powers demand higher standards amongst officers

Enforcement training critical says NatRoad
Warren Clark wants inconsistencies driven down


Proposals to increase the enforcement and investigative powers for state and territory law enforcement must come with ongoing training for law enforcement officers, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) insists.

The point was made in a submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) in response to its Review of HVNL investigative and enforcement powers discussion paper.

"The road transport industry throughout Australia already struggles with inconsistencies in how law enforcement officers interpret the prescriptive and complex National Heavy Vehicle Law," NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark says.

"The intent of the proposed new powers is an important step to improving safety, particularly where evidence gathering could reveal early trends in a driver’s record or a business operations that could be leading towards a serious incident.

"Yet the proposed new power to investigate drivers and businesses raise a number of privacy issues for businesses and individuals which need further consideration.

"In particular law enforcement officers should issue warnings to drivers and operators about their rights before exercising coercive powers.

"Yet we know that the National Heavy Vehicle Law is already open to interpretation in different States and Territories and this inconsistency can create issues of fairness, particularly where private or commercial in confidence information is concerned.

"The role of law enforcement in the heavy vehicle industry will become even more important with the introduction of laws which clarify Chain of Responsibility obligations for organisations and individuals involved in the road transport industry.

Clark raises a recent example of a member being investigated by law enforcement with media cameras in tow, "creating an atmosphere of intimidation and humiliation beyond normal investigative activity".

"Law enforcement has an important job to do investigating operators whose practices might be putting lives at risks yet we need to ensure that they have the ongoing training to interpret the National Heavy Vehicle Law consistently and fairly," he says.

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