NatRoad in industry enforcement overhaul call

Pedantry over minor offences seen as driver recruitment disincentive

NatRoad in industry enforcement overhaul call
Warren Clark


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says it has provided the National Transport Commission (NTC) a comprehensive submission on moving to risk-based regulation for heavy vehicles. 

Central to its submission is a demand for enforcement reform and a simplification of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

Provisions which are not critical to safety should be removed and prescriptive requirements should be moved down the regulatory tier from the Act into regulations and codes of practice, NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"We strongly support a review and restructure of the HVNL and we are enthusiastically participating in the process the NTC has established," Clark says.

"One of the issues that members have told us is in urgent need of reform relates to enforcement.

"In the submission, we make positive suggestions about how the enforcement of the HVNL and the road rules should be improved.

Read Clark's thoughts on the on-demand workforce and its digital platforms, here

NatRoad says two main reforms must be applied to the enforcement of the law. 

"Firstly, a new enforcement regime with an initial independent review system of offences must be introduced," Clark says.

"The current process means that even if you go to court and enter a successful plea in mitigation, the court costs and legal fees mean that you have reduced the initial fine amount, but you are financially worse off.

"That is poor process and poor justice. 

"Secondly, those who enforce the law, including the police, must have passed a suitable level of education about the law, education which emphasises consistency in approach and which makes the process of issuing infringements thoroughly transparent.

"Consistency is the key." 

NatRoad adds that its members have given strong feedback that the entire HVNL prescriptive regime with penalties that are indexed every year is a hindrance rather than a framework within which their businesses might thrive.

"The regime is also viewed as a massive disincentive to recruitment of drivers and others who suffer from pedantic but costly fines for minor record keeping or other minor offences," Clark says.  

"This regime should be abandoned.

"NatRoad looks forward to continuing to assist the NTC in this important review."


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